Saturday, July 26, 2014

Day 4 of no exercise

My op was on Wednesday afternoon.  Thank goodness I had a full week of training before then and the Friday was going to be my rest day.  The training for Ironman 70.3 only starts early August but I thought I would train for 2 weeks so I didn't absolutely die when I started.  I am very intimidated by the training ahead, by this crazy race I have entered which leaves me both terrified and excited.

Initially when Dr Toogood saw the wound he said 7 to 10 days. (Plastic surgeon and his name is Toogood!)  It felt very long but the consolation was I would be OK when we started the training programme and I would also be able to run the Spar Ladies 10KM I have entered on the 9th of August.  Last year it was my first 10km run so it has sentimental significance for me.  The swelling on the one side of my leg concerned my doc (and husband) which is why he thought possible fracture so he sent me off to x-rays.   Yay for no fracture which would have meant a longer recovery.  When he did the op he found the swelling was due to the skin separating from the muscle creating a cavity he could put his whole hand in.  He had to do internal stitches to re-attach and then sew up the other surface wound. 7-10 days had just become 21 days.

That is a very, very long time.  I see him Tuesday to have my dressing changed and I will then ask him what I can safely do so long.  Maybe some walking and swimming with the pool buoy between my knees so I don't kick.  As you know I only began exercising somewhere in my thirties.  I only starting exercising hectically in my forties.  How I survived my twenties doing nothing is beyond me.  I think a combo of a fast metabolism and natural predisposition to anxiety, the way I walk normally (I walk so fast I practically run) and having a little ADHD boy meant I was running around far more than I thought.  When you a single mom without much money you are forced to do plenty free fun stuff with your kid.  Much of this involves physical activity like swimming and hiking and playing ball or simply running after him.  He was hectic when he was little, hard to relate to now having morphed into a teen sloth.

Fortunately my road bike accident was nothing stupid I did unlike my mountain bike accidents.  I made sure I had 4 people in the group.  We left at 8.30 to avoid the hectic traffic.  One of us had a phone.  I asked the guy cycling with me to check my left gears which he did while we were cycling next to each other and I don't know if he pulled the break or what he did or if we simply got stuck together but I was falling and my feet were clipped in and I could not avoid it.  Something on the bike jammed in my leg.  The good thing is I managed to pull myself and my bike out of then road and the timing meant no one drove over me which is always a bonus.  I think its a God thing.  I had been super anxious before the cycle.  I even wrote something on a friends FB page.  While cycling I stayed anxious and my friend still asked why I looked so down.  I just prayed and said nothing can really protect me except you Jesus so please keep me safe.  I know for many of you, me having the bike accident means He didn't keep me safe but for me I believe my anxiety was a premonition of far worse and the urgent need to pray is the reason I am not sitting on my beach chair in heaven admiring the view while typing this on my laptop.  Do you ever get that awful feeling of worry that randomly pops up?  I do.  Sometimes Gary is on his way home or one of the kids is doing something and I get that dread feeling and that is when I pray for God's protection.  I believe if we look back at a movie of our lives we will see how many times He stepped in and kept us safe. 

Its crazy how I now notice what I am eating all the time.  Before it wasn't an issue as whatever I ate was simply fuel to be burned up at the next training session.  Now a combo of bored, PMS and miserable AND stuck at home means I eat more rubbish.  I will never live like this given a choice.  I also know now overweight people will ALWAYS be overweight if they do not exercise.  You can Noaks and banting all you like and never ever sniff a single carb but you will not be slim forever and you will not be healthy and physically strong.  You will just be deprived and food obsessed. 

The moral of this rather boring, sad post is get out there and move your body.  Find something that you like to do.  Start off slow, walk your dog.  Find a yoga class, cycle a block with your kids.  Swim a few lengths in the pool.  I know what I do is extreme and after Jan next year I plan to be more 'normal' in my exercise but I do know exercising and endorphins are essential for optimal physical and mental health.  Once recovered I will never ever have a time in my life when I do absolutely nothing regardless of my age.  The privilege of being able to be mobile and move our bodies is not to be taken for granted and wasted.  17 days to go!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

To my Daniel on his 18th Birthday. EIGHTEEN?!


The world considers you an adult today. Eighteen years old, you can vote, drive, go to prison, buy property and be a legal guardian to your sisters.  This is totally crazy for me because how on earth could 18 years have flashed by this fast??   Happy birthday Daniel.  You might be an adult in the eyes of this world but you are my boy and I will always stay your mom who worries about you, nags a little, protects you, looks out for you, stays proud of you and just absolutely loves you with everything I have.

The moment of your birth is so clear.  I have told you this before (Getting old, repeating myself!) but the moment you were born I knew that God existed.  I was not what you would call a Christian back then but I just knew without a shadow of a doubt that God really did exist and created you.  I felt so entrusted with you.   Like He was personally handing you over telling me you were mine to raise but you did not belong to me, you belong to Him.   In the early terrifying days of being this young mother I would look at my face in the
mirror and I could see I was forever changed.  Love had come like a massive wave and crashed into me and when I emerged I was not the same person.  I couldn’t believe I was capable of love like that. I cannot wait till you hold your own baby and we make eye contact for that brief intense moment and you get it.
Remember what I am telling you now. Only then will you understand how much I love you.  And don’t make it too soon please!  And not too long either.  Anytime from age 25 will do thank you!! 

We have had so much fun getting you to this point in your life.  I know you are not thrilled with the big nose and skinny legs I have handed you but you have my travel bug and sense of humour too.   Being able to laugh at stuff, it’s important.  Life is still going to throw you many curve balls and I wish I could save you from some of the storms but that isn’t how it works. Know you can always come home and have a place that is safe and dry.  Speaking of home I am so glad you are not moving out yet.  I know I have to let you
go and I have done this bit by bit over the past 5 years but I am not quite ready to have you no longer being around to irritate me and eat all my food and leave your smelly washing lying around.  

For years and years I have been telling people how successful you will be one day.  I am not bragging or being biased but I just know.  I also know way back when there was an old Loebenberg grandpa who prayed blessing and favour over his descendants and this includes you.  You have a path to travel before you get there with lots of hard graft.  Stay humble and learn all you can from those around you.  Do what you do with excellence and passion.   Don’t forget you have to buy me that beach house one day.  Your success will come with responsibility and I am glad you are generous because God will expect you to pay it forward.   
I know you don’t do warm and fuzzy and this is probably the longest thing you have read in forever so I will try and wrap this up.  I am glad your arsehole teenage years are mostly over.  Thanks for not being a
complete brat.  I know half the time you got caught up in the peer pressure of needing to act rebellious or
argumentative because that was the done thing in the arsehole years but I never quite believed you.  I appreciate this new you.  Respectful and more considerate and taking ownership of your studies and your life.   

Daniel please, please be very careful.  Drive carefully, never ever get into your car pissed or anyone else’s car.   Be safe in Thailand and enjoy your adventure.  You are at the brink of your grown up life with endless possibilities and it is so exciting.  Work hard, love hard, laugh hard, be respectful, stay humble, be safe, stay true to who you are and have a blast in this 18th year of your life.  I am so proud to be your mom and enjoy you so much.   LOVE you!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

To my Sofie on her tenth birthday



TEN?  You can’t possibly be 10?  That is 2 whole hands!  That was a lot of sleeps to finally get to this one precious day of your happy birthday.  I am so very sorry it wasn't as fun today as you wanted and that tomorrow we have to cancel the ten pin bowling but I PROMISE I will make it up to you and we will go later in the holidays.
 
Sofieliscious you were one of the biggest and best surprises of my life.  Spending 9 whole months so convinced you were a boy.  Doing your room up in blue dinosaurs and spending that entire time making the blue bear quilt as we all waited for you to arrive.  And then you did and the first thing I did was raise you up and we were so shocked.  GIRL?!   It’s a little girl?  Rebeka has a sister?  Where is Zack?  Who is this little quiet content brand new person with her large wise eyes? 

When we sent everyone the text to say Sofia Josephine had arrived at 3.9kg everyone was most confused.  I was delighted.  I SO wanted another girl and I really wanted Becks to have a sister.  Daddy and I were crazy about you from minute one and we stay crazy about you still.  If I had to think of a recipe that showed who you were I would say a fillet steak with chocolate chilli sauce.  You really do get something like that and it’s this fascinating blend of different ingredients that somehow all work and are unique and delicious.  Unique means only one exists.  There is only one Sofia Josephine Novitzkas.   You are so brave and I know your tummy gets sore because you find things scary or they worry you or make you feel yucky.  You do them anyway, you take a deep breath and you dive off that block and swim, swim, swim.  Or you get up on the stage all alone and sing in a voice that makes everyone in the room absolutely silent.   God has given you many talents and you are a lucky girl.  We stay grateful to Him every day for your healthy strong body and your beautiful singing voice.  For your super flexible body unlike the rest of us stick figures.  

I know school hasn’t been easy for you and you get stressed.  I also know some of the girls can be so ugly.  Don’t be ugly back.  I know it is very, very hard and it is natural to be mean back but you will see that some people are just ugly inside.  Even Mom and Mimi and Aunty Tertia and Aunty Nina have to deal with mean people.   I always think something in their heart must be broken to make them so unkind.  People get jealous or insecure.  Insecure means they feel like they are not good enough and they don’t like the fact you might be better than them at some stuff so they try and make you feel horrible about yourself.  And remember not to be nasty to others or think you are better because you have a gift they don’t.   God made us all different; it is what makes life interesting.    Even dogs have different personalities! 

Well done on your school report!  I told you it would be fine and you did better than fine.  I am so proud of you because I know it was hard and you were tired from Annie shows.  When I watched you on stage I just wanted to cry.  My little girl, my Sofie, Blicksie, Fifi girl singing and dancing like that.  Well done my amazing actress.  None of us can do what you do in this family and we are all beyond proud of you.  Sofia I cannot tell you how much I love you because words are not big enough for the feeling in my chest.  I know you get this because your chest is also bursting with love for us too.  You leave me breathless.   I am your biggest fan and your cheerleader and I will support you in whatever you want to do in your life.  We don’t know what that is yet but I know you are someone.  Even now when we walk through the mall and you are all dressed up you turn heads.  You have swag my Sofieliscious and I am excited to see where life takes you.  Happy Birthday my gorgeous!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why I can't do macrame just yet.



My Dad was asking me why I push myself so hard and my mom called me today saying I do too much and she is concerned about me.   I must admit at the moment my anxiety is a little like a veld fire on a hot and windy day, out of control and sucking all the air from the atmosphere to fuel it, hot and wild.
Ideally I should be the person who stays home most days enjoying my alone time, reading a little.  Taking time to cook dinner, grocery shop, walk my dog Lucy and just be.  I should do gentle exercise like yoga and hang with other mothers on coffee dates.  It would help my anxiety and subsequently help my mouth which obviously reacts to stress and fatigue.  

Somehow I just can’t.  I have had a shit past 5 plus years which was beyond my control and I have also had far too many friends and siblings of friends die way before their time.   They are gone.  Gone.  They have no more choice with what to do with their life, they have no life.  How can this be?  I still can’t wrap my head around it and the latest one was a tough one as my friend Bee was convinced she was not going to die.  We pretended along with her.  We had this joke where she decided her name would not be Bee Peggy (peg as in die) so I called her Bee Zoe.  Zoe means life.  I even have her name saved on my phone as Bee Zoe.  Part of why I live my life hard is because we just don’t know how much time we have on earth.  I don’t want regrets.  We also don’t know how we will age and when I am an old lady, I can THEN walk my dog and do yoga and cook dinners and meet girlfriends.  I will have the time and I won’t have the strength and energy I have now. 

I love having goals that scare the crap out of me.  Part of me is drawn to that veld fire adding fuel like this 21km I am running on Sat.  I am really nervous for it.  It would be incredibly easy not to pitch up but I want that…I have frikkin’ done it feeling.  I have just done something for the very first time at age 43 that was hard and needed bravery and hard work and determination.  I know it’s not Comrades or 2 Oceans but for me, it’s huge.   It has taken me 16 months to get from I hate running I can’t run 5 meters and never will, to, I am about to do my first half marathon.  Do you get me? Entering for  70.3 Ironman makes me want to puke it’s so scary.  What the hell am I thinking?  Training for the Olympic distance Tri was hard enough.  This time more than double the distance for each discipline.  We start in August and I have enjoyed not training since April 26th.  Not being so exhausted.   Odd thing is I still run 3 timed a week, swim twice and do one spin class but that is considered not training compared to what is up ahead for me.  Yoh yoh yoh!!!

The studying is really not good for my Dystonia and I have added some new tricks to tongue spasms and palate spasms.  Lots of blowing into my sleeve or arm, face scrunching, jaw clenching.  I think the latest meds kicked me up a notch on the Dystonia scale.  I have to be so careful not to let it consume my life, my spirit and my joy.   For anyone who has a chronic debilitating conditioning they will understand how you fight.  You refuse to succumb.  Training so hard, studying so hard, I am in control.  Me.  I can stop at any time.   When it’s pissing with rain and the wind is howling and we are on a training run its hard but I can just stop whenever I want to.  My Dystonia, I have no control.  I am a puppet jerked 24/7 with no respite.

So that is why I train so hard, push and push some more.  To honour my friends who died too soon.  To have the rush of achieving goals I never thought I could.  To keep my head above water when my Dystonia wants to claim my life by dragging me under where it’s dark and murky.   I understand it’s not sustainable and I have to balance it out and keep perspective and I do, I will and I am.  My new schedule (Typed up today till Nov colour coded = Agatha calmed down) has a day off written in for 2 of the months until my next exams.  I am also only working 2 of the 5 days during school holidays and no weekend so I have 3 weeks of chill time.  I will read, go for long bike rides, bake, hang with my kids and chill.  I really will and then August  its training time with lots of exciting heart racey triathlons and half marathons before the biggie next Jan.  After 70.3 Triathlon next year I am pretty sure I will not do another.  If I want to finish my degree by the end of 2016 I have to do 8 modules next year and the full 10 in 2016.  You don’t believe me do you?  Really, just this one big bucket list triathlon and then I will be a sensible 43 year old normal person with my midlife crises over.  Promise. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

To my Rebeka on her 12th birthday



First let me start by saying HAPPY birthday to you.  I have said happy birthday many times but this time I mean it, I wish you the happiest day ever.  You won’t remember but I used to write you happy birthday and just general letters on my old blog.  Mom will read it to you sometime.  This time is cooler though because you get to read and really understand. 

Twelve!  You were right Becks, 12 is indeed a big birthday, technically the last year of being a tweenie before you hit the teens.  I know this is all about YOU but can I just say I know I must be pretty awesome because God needed someone very special to raise someone like you.   I love that I know just how to love you.  What makes you tick and what makes you happy.  You are different Rebeka and you always will be.  Sometimes this will be a huge blessing and sometimes it will be a source of pain.  You see and feel things on a much deeper level than most people.  I have this too and when we live in a world that seems so incredibly unfair it can cause much heartache.  The good thing is that you will never be that person who turns a blind eye or decides not to care.  You do care and have the gift of fairness, compassion and kindness and God will use you in your life to love and care and heal.  I am not sure in which profession but I do know it will be in a space and place where you get to show your love and care for people or animals.

I am so immensely proud of you.  Not for your grades or swimming or anything you have done or not done.  I am just proud of WHO you are and to be your mother, the person who gets to guide you and help shape you as you grow up.   I don’t know everything, no one does.  People will try and force their own ideas and opinions on you but you need to find your own truth and belief system which has already started to grow.  People call it their inner voice or the little voice in their head or their conscience, that what niggles and tells us stuff.  We call it the holy spirit, the voice of God that tells us what to do, when to love, who to love.  You have this already, have had it for a long time.  Sometimes we don’t want to listen; we so want to do what WE want to do.  That’s OK too because it is how we learn, we bump our heads and next time we learn to duck or take another route.  We also learn to listen next time.  (Mom has only learned to listen to this voice so much later than you!) 

I am glad you had a great evening at youth last night and Auntie Michelle and your friends made you feel special.  Super glad you love your prezzies and your breakfast with Dad this morning.  I know it felt like forever waiting for your phone but this amazing and excited feeling you have right now, it’s what comes from waiting for something you really look forward to.  Delicious anticipation and then the moment of having it in your hands!  Hey, sounds like my pregnancy with you.  Waiting, waiting and then my arms and heart full of you.

So let me end by saying happy birthday Rebeka Scarlett Novitzkas.  I wish you another 80 special birthdays on this earth, even more.  I love you more than I could possibly describe but I know you know.  Stoked for the wonderful plans and future I know God has laid out for you.

Love from Mom x

Monday, June 16, 2014

Day 80, Time heals



For those who only read my blog but are not my FB friends, I have been doing a series called one hundred days of gratitude on my FB posts. I started on April 1st and decided I would write about something that I was grateful for each and every day.  I have Lingual Dystonia which I got from taking the anti-dep Cymgen, a Cymbalata generic.  In August this year it will be 2 years.  It is painful and debilitating affecting my tongue, palate and jaw with 24/7 spasms and movement.  Speech is difficult and by the end of the day pain forces me into silence or short sentences.  I have tried various medications with no real success.   The last meds made me extremely depressed and very suicidal.  I won’t even speak about the latter too much as we don’t talk about the S word but let’s just say I thank God that at the end of the day as much as I desperately wanted to swallow every tablet on my shelf and sleep forever, I couldn’t do that to my mother.  Her own mother took her life and who wants to be THAT person who loses their mother AND daughter to suicide.  It’s even hard to type the word.  I will just say be careful of meds and if you are incredibly depressed and on meds, chat to your doc about the side effects.  If you are family to a suicidal person, drag them off to the doctor.  On weak days the strength to stay, to fight, to live is very hard and you need that person to recognize that day.  But that’s over now, I went off the meds and now I never think about it.

F*ck!  What an intro for something that is meant to be a positive post.  Sorry!!  So back to time heals. Two years ago some of you will remember we were immigrating to Singapore.  Moving a family of 5 and their one dog to another country takes an enormous amount of preparation.  Getting the kids emotionally ready and positive takes masses of input/brain washing etc.   So after visiting Sing and organising schools and accommodation and re homing our rottie and doing all the shots and paperwork for my dog Lucy, we were ready to go.  The mover was booked, my house rented out, notice had been given at school here, banks, phone company and basically our entire lives here were wrapped up.  I had one farewell party and the big one was organised for a few days before we left.  What made everything that much sweeter was Gary’s BF lived in Sing and my darling sister and her family. 3 weeks before we were due to leave Gary’s company drops him and says sorry, you are too expensive so the deal is off.  We apologise for the inconvenience.     Inconvenience?  Seriously?  Your dentist being late is inconvenient.  Forgetting to buy milk is inconvenient.  This?  This is a total and utter mindf*ck.  It flattened us, crushed us and almost destroyed me.  I was finished.  Beyond devastated.  We still had our tickets to fly obviously so off we went for a 2 week holiday in a state of disbelief and shock.  Daniel was depressed for months, the girls took massive strain and I was traumatised to the point where I eventually went for therapy.  I was then prescribed the evil cymgen by my nightmare psychiatrist and after 14 days, dystonia arrives and never leaves.

OK, this post is still so negative!!   So the good bits, 2 years on and everyone has gotten over it apart from one causality.  The girls eventually healed, Daniel finally got Carmin and fell madly in love and Gary has a great job.  Me, I got lifelong dystonia which means I am never quite free as it was a direct result of not going.  I have wondered why God would take me on that journey and why He would give me a permanent reminder but what is the point.  We didn’t go and everyone recovered and the irony is that when I eventually get to ask Him why, I will be so blown away by being in heaven and loved up none of the stuff on earth will matter.  So time does heal and life goes on and the new path becomes THE path.  I see it all around me all the time and I am grateful because I know when things are horrendous, it will never be forever.  Time will erase the painful bits and lighten the load to something we can carry and maybe even make it so light, it will just blow away in the wind.