Do You Take Time For Self Care?

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Feeling Crappy!

How I look when I’m feeling crappy!

When I took a long break from social media this past winter I found there was a good reason to have the extra time to just plain deal with life. That was when Bill’s knee blew out and I needed the extra time to take care of him. He is slowly improving after his surgery to repair a torn meniscus and to remove the arthritis that had been building up in the knee. But he still isn’t 100%. His doctors are telling him it’ll be another four or five months before he’ll be back to normal. So he goes to the gym, works out on a recumbent bike to keep his muscles working and puts up with feeling frustrated and the almost continuous pain.

Our acceptance of what seems like a major intrusion in our lives is growing and we’ve settled in, taking the summer one day at a time. This week he went off to Ukulele Camp in North Carolina. He drove himself down there stopping every hour or so to keep his knee working. He’ll be bringing home new tunes with which to serenade me and hopefully this adventure will help with his frustration level. Yes, our minds needs care, too.

Now after another three week break, I’m back. It was a much needed time in which I took care of some loose odds and ends I’d been ignoring … like the chronic pain I’ve been experiencing for years and my sometimes complete exhaustion. I am one of those women who takes care of everyone around her but herself, though now those lessons are beginning to take hold.

After spending almost two years watching my daughter deal with Chronic Lyme disease and feeling helpless because I couldn’t help her in any way, I finally caved into the fact that my symptoms were very similar to hers. Because I didn’t have major deadlines for a while, I decided to go see the Lyme Disease specialist here in Charlottesville. It turns out I do have Lyme Disease, along with the Epstein Barr virus, a parasite in my gut, and Adrenal Fatigue.

Finally knowing why I’ve been feeling so crappy has been a blessing. I must say I had an inkling of what my problem was. But still the aha moment was dizzying and very much needed. My unpredictable joint and muscle pains had been getting worse, along with headaches, and lots of brain fog. I needed long naps in the afternoons so that I could stay awake in the evenings. No amount of yoga, pilates, massage and chiropractic helped.  I pictured Bill and myself limping into the future unable to take care of each other.

IMG_1626But the news is good and I’m already beginning to feel like my old self. I’m on a homeopathic protocol. My joint pain is gone, as are the headaches. Though I still have a few sore muscles, I have much more energy and little brain fog. This week will be the third week of eight that I will spray a number of different homeopathic remedies under my tongue three times a day. I will then go to using the sprays twice a day for another eight weeks, and then go to once a day, until I meet to discuss the outcome with my care-giver. That I’ve been gluten free for several years and have recently gone lactose free has helped a lot. Most of the time I watch my sugar intake and try to keep added sugars to a bare minimum, using only honey once in a while. It’s been pretty easy. Though I miss ice cream and cheese, I’ve taken to having one or two pieces of dark chocolate when I’m feeling starved for the things I’m not supposed to eat.

I’ve always vowed I would not allow myself to become what I call a Rocking Chair Granny, unable to do much but rock on her front porch watching the world go by. When I go down I want to be doing something I love to do, still filled with curiosity and the need to learn and experience everything that excites me.

I’ve been at work, too.  I finished rereading my manuscript and sent it off for its copyedit last week, have finished reading a number of books, and am ready to go back to doing some serious work. The big difference between then and now is that I’m listening to my body and giving myself lots of time to let is rest, eat well, and get exercise.  Those things are at the very top of my What is Important list.

When was the last time you gave yourself some time to just be and see how you are feeling? Do you have a list of your most important things to take care of?


  1. Wow, Joan. You’ve been through a lot this year. Congratulations on taking the time for diagnosis and self care. Your observation that you instinctively take care of others first is such a common ailment, especially for women. It takes conscious effort to listen to one’s own body.

    I’m so glad that both you and Bill are on the mend.

    We had a scare here, too. Stuart had pancreatitis and landed in the hospital for three nights. He’s all better again, thank God. But we share your determination to make our health, at least the things we can control, a very high priority.


    • Joan Rough says:

      Shirley, Thanks for your good wishes. So sorry to hear about Stuart but glad he’s fine. We’re all getting to that age when health issues tend to sneak up on us. So take care, you two. We all still have a lot of living to do!!

  2. Aren’t you smart for using a negative filter on the photo. Probably every reader knows that feeling. And you are right: having a name for the ailment and knowing how to treat it is a good share of the battle.

    My plantar fasciitis is clearing up after about 3 months now with the right orthotics and a night splint. Concrete grocery store floors are the worst, and Cliff has taken some of the load off by helping to shop.

    We are at Aunt Ruthie’s this week and this morning I experienced a moment of sister care. Cleaning off the porch, I unearthed a colony of bees, got stung, and my sister Jan dug out Benedryl from my purse, made me a cup of tea, and drew a bucket of cool water to soothe my achy ankles. Moral of the story: One way or another we make it through . . .

    Joan, you will never be a-warming the bottom of a rocking chair for very long. I can see Bill hamming it up at Ukelele Camp this week. Joyful solitude for you – happy tunes for him. Why, you may even blog about it soon!

    • Marian, that sister care sounds wonderful. I missed out not having a sister. I hope your bee stings are feeling better. Yes, we always do make it through with the help of those around us.

  3. Holy Smokes Joan! I’m sorry to learn of what’s been going on behind the scenes. But the good news is great — you’ve taken the tiger by the tail and are whipping it’s butt! My hat is off to you for the multitude of positive action steps you’ve taken to get back on track. Woohoo!

  4. I always love hearing homeopathic success stories. It’s made such a difference for me! Are you curing the lime disease with supplements? Is your daughter feeling better? Self-care is an on-going learning curve for me. I do have to say that I’m doing better and better at recognizing when I need to re-group and what is required. Scott, on the other hand, needs to go to Ukelele Camp! In NC?? What fun!

    • Dorothy, The sprays under the tongue are the magic that seems to be turning is stuff around. I also take lots of supplements but nothing specific for Lyme. And eating properly is also a good thing to do.

      The Uke camp is just outside of Black Mountain and is called the Swananoa Gathering. They have week long workshops for all kinds of music during the summer. This is Bill’s third time there and is having a good time.

  5. Dear Joan, I’m so happy you are taking good care of yourself with all you and Bill have had going on this year. Lyme Disease is very prevalent and it’s a relief to finally get some answers for all your symptoms. You certainly have the right attitude to take charge of your own health and wellness by doing everything within your power. I wish you ongoing healing and well-being. I can’t go by the gluten-free aisle without thinking of you and all the yummy recipes you have shared! You are an inspiration, my friend! Sending hugs~

  6. Why do we wait so long to stop, look, and listen to our bodies? Every woman I know does the same thing. I’m so glad you listened to yours, and are finding some homeopathic remedies to help you get back on track. Sending healing thoughts to you (and your husband!)

    • What a great question, Becca. I wish I knew the answer. One day after posting this I’m having a down day, just very tired. But this too shall pass and is part of the disease. So I’m lying low. Thanks for your healing thoughts. I know they help!!