Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Keeping It Real

I've been thinking about sharing this for a while, but I don't like to share negative things, and although this isn't really negative, per se, it isn't exactly positive. But it is real, and I have friends experiencing something similar, so if it helps other people, why not share it, right? Plus, writing is therapy for me.

A few weeks ago, before school got out, I started losing my hair. Not the thinning kind of loss that most women my age experience. Rather, hair has been coming out by the handfuls. I most notice it after my showers. I felt so freaked out at first! Then I went to my hair dresser, and when I saw that it had her concerned, as well, my freak out level charged into overdrive. I told her I was losing hair. Once she started combing my hair out, I could see the panic on her face, which she tried to hide from me. I said, "I'm losing a lot, huh?" And she said, "You need to get to the doctor right away." I made an appointment the next day.

In the meantime, I shared with my mom and Brady that I wasn't exaggerating about my hair loss, and even my hair dresser agreed it was a lot. I am prone to being a slightly dramatic person with a touch of exaggeration, and I don't think they really believed my problem until it was corroborated by my hair dresser. But once she agreed with me it was a lot of hair loss, they both hit the internet and researched the issue. I didn't want to scare myself further, and so I didn't look anything up and waited for the doctor's opinion. In the end, what they both found was correct, and the doctor actually agreed with them. My thyroid, by the way, is just fine.

What happened, is that my hair system had been "shocked." This stemmed from back in March when I experienced a severe sickness followed by a very emotional and stressful situation. The overall stress threw my hormones into overdrive, and thereby shocked my hair system, causing it to fall out. There is an official name for this condition, but I can't remember what the doctor called it. I asked him how long it might last, and he said up to 8 months. 8 months?! As if I will have a single hair on my head, by then.

Losing your hair is not fun, let me tell you. It may seem like an insignificant thing to pray for, but I pray every day that it will stop falling out. The entire ordeal has been an eye opener for me on the destruction stress can do to the body. After my stressful situation, I made some really tough decisions and changes to my life. I had to give up something I dearly loved, which was one of my jobs. I am still coming to terms with the changes I have made. I am currently in the process of trying to figure out what my passion in life is, aside from my family. Thank goodness I am in a position to be able to do this!

If you know me at all, then you know I live for my family. But I can't take care of them if I'm not healthy. And although I thought I was handling my life fine and doing okay, I can see now that I wasn't.

At the same time my hair started falling out in droves, my legs started hurting. It started with my right one, and then went into my left one. My right one is fine, but my left leg is not quite healed up. I thought I had injured them somehow doing something I have done a zillion times, mowing the lawn, but now I'm not so sure. The night of Brailey's graduation, my leg hurt so bad, I couldn't even sleep. I started worrying about a blood clot or rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia. I can be a hypochondriac, sometimes. But I have never been in that much pain in my life, other than when I was in labor with Brailey. We are talking sharp, shooting pains and aching waves. It was sore for a good week after that sleepless night, and then the pain and soreness went away. Until last week. And all of a sudden, the pain flared back up. Thankfully, it wasn't as bad, this time, and it is already gone. But it has kept me from exercising many times, which is a whole different blog post and subject. Who could know if it is just an injury or if it is something else? It remains to be seen.

In the meantime, though, and on a whim, I shared my woes on a Facebook post a good friend had shared about her "crazy" hair. Another good friend saw what I had commented and said she was losing all her hair, too! And then, it was discovered that all three of us were experiencing the same thing! The friend with the crazy hair had also experienced the leg issues I have been having. Thankfully, she found a cure! She shared with us the collagen powder she now takes. Within five months, her hair was back and thicker than ever and her legs and feet are now feeling great. I have feet issues to go along with my leg issues (I told you that was a whole blog post of its own - haha!). So needless to say, I ordered the collagen, and I am going to try it. I really hope it works.

I love how fate can be helpful at times. Thank goodness I commented on that post, on a whim. I am so thankful to this friend for sharing with me that she has been through something similar (love you Mel!)! And I am looking forward to trying the collagen powder. I'm also looking forward to finding my next career move. I want to do something I'm good at and something I love that will allow me to take care of my family. I feel a bit stressed about this, to be honest, but I am trying not to block the process and to just be in the moment. It is a new experience for me, to just "be." As always, I am a work in progress.

Now more than ever before, my kiddos need me. I was talking about this subject at Britt's swim meet earlier this summer with a high school teacher, and she said I was on the right track with this thinking. I am so grateful for this conversation (thank you Miranda!). She sees so many parents disengage from their kids once they hit high school. She said people think, "Oh, I got them to high school. I'm done!" This could not be further from the truth. Kids in high school need their parents as much if not more than they ever have. This is when they can get into big trouble - there are some really, really frightening influences out there. I am so, so, so grateful to be able to focus on my own kids and their needs, and I am even more grateful that I have a supportive husband who agrees this is an important time in their lives for parental support.

I have been enjoying so many more things with my family this summer, now that I have allowed myself more freedom. Ironically, I am busier than ever, but I am making sure I am fully present with my kiddos and doing things with them they will remember. Like hitting golf balls, riding horses, throwing basketball passes, and taking the time to actually eat lunch with them on our patio. I am ashamed to say I have been neglectful in some of these areas in the past. Again, I am a work in progress. A healthy me equals a healthy family, right?

So if you are going through health issues and hair issues, I want you to know I feel your pain. And if you are making changes and searching for your passion in life, I hope you find your way. My kids have been my passion all these years, and now they are growing up. I only have a few more years to find a new passion to focus on. Hopefully, with newfound good health, the next door of opportunity will open and I will be ready for the next adventure that comes my way. (If you have any ideas for me, please share them - I can't think of a thing!)

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