Vent Sesh: Health is Everything

November 14, 2012

With Thanksgiving next week I wanted to share what I’m most thankful for: it’s my health. It’s true that without health we have nothing.

A few weeks ago I had a health scare. I was terrified. As you know I have significant — yet manageable — health issues (my deal here) yet with a business, a blog, a little girl, a husband, life, friends, my mom and dad both relocating nearby, travel and I’m sure more, I put myself last and majorly over did it. I realized I’m no use to anyone — my daughter, my business, anyone — if I’m not healthy.

What happened:

A few weekends ago I was uncomfortably exhausted. That Monday I had plans to visit a close friend who is a business owner and mom of a one-year old — and, she’s fighting Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. True to who she is, she’s kicking its ass (thank g-d). On my way to see her, I freaked about my health. I thought that every symptom I had two years ago when I wound up with temporary paralysis a few years ago was presenting again. I spent a large part of my friend’s chemo treatment reigning in my panic attack and realizing something so important.

I finally realized I need to make myself a priority, I need to focus on “me”. I didn’t listen to my body, which had been telling me for weeks that I needed to slow down. Are you that kind of person, too? When I came to my senses I took control: I made appointments with my neurologist, my counselor, got two massages, worked out, and skipped a few blog posts to go to sleep at 9:30 pm (when blogging typically starts).

Plus, this Monday, I had a major break through: for at least a year I’ve felt tired and my memory has been awful. I’ve felt stupid. I forget words (and I’m a words girl!), names, situations, you name it. During a visit to a neuro specialist on Monday, he was shocked at my dosage of Lyrica, an anti-seizure med that minimizes my feelings of burning, tingling, etc on my skin. Apparently my unusually high dosage (he’s never given it to anyone) — recommended by a different neuro  — is likely the result of every single mental issue I’ve been feeling as well as my extreme exhaustion (ok, totally recognize the fact I’m a semi-crazy lady who tries to do it all, ha!). When he told me that, I cried. The relief was overwhelming. This dumb, tired, groggy version of me is drugs. Dosage minimized asap.

Do you ever put your issues at bay so you can deal with other things, be it family or work priorities? My friend got diagnosed with Hodgkin’s nearly two years ago after starting to see doctors for various symptoms and another new friend mentioned she recently dealt with a brain tumor (luckily, benign). These women went from doctor to doctor, knowing in their gut something was going on. I’m so proud of them for fighting for themselves, and it’s encouragement and inspiration to me - and hopefully you — to take care of you, whether that means more relaxation or finally making that doctor or dentist appointment you’ve been avoiding.

Be thankful for your health, as it’s one to those things I never realized how grateful I was for it until I lost it.

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  • PennyPincherFashion

    This is such a great post, Alyson - and a timely reminder that we all need to value our health more & put it first! I am a big offender when it comes to this (hence my recurring bouts with mono) & have vowed to take more “me” time lately - working out even when I feel like I should be blogging, taking naps with my son when I feel tired & not running myself into the ground with my perfectionistic tendencies! Not just for me, but so I can be a better friend/mom/wife too :)

  • Leighleigh Uzumaki

    I am so sorry to hear how bad you’ve been feeling but happy that it’s taken care of! I do the same thing. I have a 4 year old boy and 6 year old girl, plus my job, plus 17 nieces and nephews that I adore, friends, more work, house work…then husband and in laws. It gets crazy. I’m very lucky that on weekends my in-laws take the kids, but I love having them home. I went 3 days with a 104 fever two weeks ago because I had no time to go to the doctor. It was strep! And my son had it too. It gets chaotic but if you aren’t healthy what good are you to everyone who needs you?
    Glad you feel better!

  • grace - s&s

    I hear you. Your health is everything! Please take care of yourself Alyson! I know you push yourself so hard.

  • Dianna @ The Kitchen Prep

    I’m a little teary-eyed reading this,,. Partially because I feel for so many out there that don’t have the time, money, or resources to properly tend to their health, and also because I, too, am guilty of defaulting to, “I’ll deal with it later.” The thing is, I sometimes forget that I’m lucky if I get a “later”. Today, I have a Dr.’s appointment to talk about a potential upcoming surgery to remove a lump from my breast. While I hope that it’s nothing to worry about, I also fear that this will be the beginning of something terrifying. {My mom went through chemo & radiation last year for breast cancer.} Is this a convenient time? No. Did I think to myself, “Ugh, now I might not be able to do all the holiday baking I planned.” Yes. Is that ridiculous? Absolutely.
    I am so glad you are ok, and thank you for taking the time to share your personal situation because it makes me feel a little less alone. I wish you continued health and a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  • Samantha Tananbaum

    Amen. We absolutely have to learn to put ourselves first. As Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” It’s difficult to prioritize and sometimes we feel selfish, but you’re absolutely right when you say that not taking care of yourself does a disservice to the people you love too. I’m so glad that you’re figuring out some of your health issues and feeling better. I just read your birthday post for the first time, and have even more respect for you than before. I too have health issues, mental and physical, and it can be hard sometimes. This post is actually well-timed, as I just made an appointment with a specialist to deal with recurring stomach problems. Onward and upward, right? And if you ever want to vent some more, you know where to find me.


  • Kim // Six2Eleven

    This truly hits home for me. Vest session sign me up! I’m constantly worried - borderline obsessed - with the health of my family. My biggest fear in life is that something will happen to them that’s out of my control. Me, on the other hand not so much! It’s not that I don’t care equally about my health - it’s just not a priority. Externally yes, but internally - I have no idea what’s going on inside my body! In the last year, I’ve been trying to change my habits as I hope to become a first-time mom soon and want to be in the best health I can be before a baby. My last blood test showed super high liver enzymes? How in the hell did that happen? But had I not checked, who knows what would have happened. Our health, more than anything, should be what cherish the most. There’s no better gift that we can give ourselves or the people that love us! (and thanks for letting me vent xoxo)

  • Tracy

    So glad you are feeling better and realizing the importance of slowing down and taking time for YOU! And start going to bed earlier…says the pregnant girl in bed by 9 ( ; xoxo

  • Nancy Ann Gazo

    You are right on about making yourself a priority. It is not a selfish thing to put yourself first. We women, especially, get locked into lowering our own needs on our to-take-care-of llists. Thing is, that can make us LESS able, and less efficient, in dealing with our other responsibilities. Unless you maintain your own health, wellness, and vitality - you will ultimately diminish your ability to do for others. Think of yourself as a high performance sports car. You need maintenance to function optimally. Or you will eventually not be going anywhere. But the better you are taken care of, the better your performance will be.

    You cannot give what you do not have, and if you deplete your own resources - you will not be able to give to others.

  • Sara @ Gameday Stylist

    Amen! You are so right. It’s so easy to put off health issues because you are busy but like you said you are of no use if you do not have your health! Glad to hear you are ok!!!

    - Sara @ Gameday Stylist

  • jennifer {}

    i hope that you’re feeling better now that you’ve lowered your dosage. you’ll have to give us an update soon :)

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