Saturday, March 31, 2007

I can't even think of a good title

I'm not even sure I should be posting this. Is it an invasion of my brother's privacy that I use my online world to work through my personal grief? I don't know. What I do know, is that it's been a difficult week on the family front and blogging is my outlet.

Yesterday I spent the day at a Saint John hospital (with my Mom and sister) while they did tests on his heart. The news isn’t good. There was a possibility they would do a triple by-pass, but after trying to open up his arteries with “balloons” they realized there was nothing they could do for his heart as a) he has more damage than expected and b) because of his diabetes, his veins are quite damaged and couldn’t be used in a by-pass. This means he is not eligible for a kidney transplant – not even from a live donor. Even if I were a match, they couldn’t give him my kidney.

As the cardiologists and cardio-thoracic surgeons talked to us, it was clear my brother didn’t want to know what this all meant. His way of dealing with things is simply not asking questions. If he doesn’t know about it, it doesn’t exist. I talked to the surgeon after, as I needed to know more. From what I understand, he is in advance stage cardiac failure (I think he used another word, but it’s a bit of a blur). He is in kidney failure and will not be eligible to receive a kidney, which means a lifetime of dialysis. The nerve endings to his heart are damaged so if he were to have another heart attack he would have no warning… and would simply die. He will most likely die from heart complications.

When his time comes, chances are we will be saying he died of complications from diabetes. This thought alone makes my run in Hawaii even more meaningful… I just never thought it would be THIS meaningful. I hate that people don’t know just how devastating diabetes can be.

I feel horrible, but all I keep thinking is – is my Mom going to be able to survive this? Am I going to be loosing my brother AND my mother? And if he is to die… please let be in a hospital… please don’t let my mother or his 9 year old daughter or any of us for that matter find him dead in his apartment. I feel so selfish.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Running the Stress Away

They say that running helps with stress management. Well, the way my life has been going these days, I’ll have to run a marathon to get rid of all my stress.

As many of you know, my brother has been in the hospital for the last three weeks (or has it been four... I've lost count). Things weren’t great about two weeks ago when he was admitted to the cardiac intensive care unit. It’s his heart – it’s weak. Apparently it’s common for dialysis patients and diabetics to have heart problems. He’s out of intensive care now, but is being transferred to Saint John this afternoon for tests on his heart. We don’t know what happens next. They could do surgery, they could give him medication, or they could send him back to Moncton because there is nothing that can be done. Who knows?

My Mom is heading to Saint John this afternoon with a friend so she can be with him. I’m on stand-by for the time being. I’m waiting to see what happens next. I don’t want to go to Saint John and they end up not doing anything for a week. I’m trying to use my compassionate days as wisely as possible, you know? Hopefully I’ll know more tonight and can make a decision as to whether to go to Saint John now or wait.

Other than my brother, I also have two sisters. I’m the youngest. My sister Christine has always been the “responsible” one in the family. She is always the one everyone can count on when things get rough. Well, she’s dealing with a ton of other stressful situations lately so I’m attempting to take over. Beside’s, even if she didn’t have a whole bunch of stuff to deal with it’s probably about time I step up anyway! The girl can only take so much! I’ve got some big shoes to fill, so for now, I’m going to attempt to be cool, calm and collected for my family. I CAN do this!

Disclaimer: I hate saying that I’M stressed because the truth is; it’s my brother who is going through all this crap. Sure, I can be worried about him, but he’s the one who’s in a really difficult situation and he’s the one who deserves your prayers, encouragement and positives vibes - not me.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I’ve finally realise the usefulness the Stress/Rest technique encouraged by the Running Room. Basically, Stress/Rest means you push your body one day and then rest or do a lighter work-out the next day. For instance, Sundays are usually my LSD (Long slow distance) day where I run a long distance at a slower pace. This is considered a stress day because of the distance covered. Mondays are generally supposed to by a day off – rest day. Wednesdays are often hill training days (stress) while Thursdays are usually reserved for a short and slow steady run (rest).

Since I’ve been teaching a clinic on Mondays, my stress/rest days have been pretty screwed up. The last weekend wasn’t an exception! I did my LSD run on Saturday instead of the usual Sunday. The 14 km route was the longest distance I’ve run since December so it was definitely a stress day. Yesterday I did a 5 km race with my clinic group. Normally 5 km isn’t a big stress on my body, but on race day, you tend to push your body to the limit – which is what I did. Today, all my muscles are aching. Even my neck and head hurt. The worst of it is, I’m supposed to run again tonight! I’m looking forward to resting my body for a couple of days before my new clinic starts on Thursday.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My girls made it!

Tomorrow will be the last day of the Learn to Run clinic I’m teaching and I couldn’t be prouder of my students. This morning they ran their first 5 km race! They did beautifully – coming in at 35 minutes. I did the entire run with them and I was like a proud mamma. I gave them each a little “charm” as a medal for completing the race. They were so happy and proud of themselves; it was wonderful to see.

Next Thursday I start my new clinic with a new bunch of beginners – I can’t wait!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gah! My nephew is 12!

It's Alex's birthday today and he turns 12... 12! Can you believe that? It feels like he was just a baby not so long ago. Now, our conversations are so mature and serious, it's very strange. Oh God! I've become one of those aunts who says stuff like, "I remember when you where only this tall" or “My! How you've grown!" Am I really that old? I always thought I would be a cool aunt, but I think I've become an average aunt like everyone else. Bah. Why can't I be more fun?

Sometimes I feel like I got stuck somewhere at the start of the millennium. I feel like 2000 was just last year... but then I stop and think about it and realise 2000 was 7 years ago! Alex will graduate from high school in 6 years, while I graduated 13 years ago. Holy crap I'm old! I don't feel old. I don't feel mature enough to be an adult, but somehow I am. How can that be? I thought by 30 (ummm, 31) I'd be a married, homeowner with kids and a well established career. How can it be that I'm not married, still unsure about my career, don't have any kids and living with my mother. I'm not saying this because it depresses me. Not at all actually! I'm saying this because it doesn't feel like this is my life... or perhaps it doesn't feel like I'm 31. I'm 26 and I still have lots of time to figure out who I want to be, who I want to be with and where I want to live. 26 seems like a good round number, doesn't it? At 26 you've probably been working for a few years, you don't have pressure to marry or buy a house, although you could easily do either in the right circumstances.

What was I up too at 26... let's see, I had just run my first half-marathon, I had been working at what I thought was my dream job for about a year, I lived in a gorgeous over-priced apartment, I thought I was in love and before I would turn 27 I would be engaged. Things seemed perfect. Then 27 rolled around and things started on a downward spiral... I stopped running, work was overwhelming, stressful and too much, my relationship was crumbling, I was depressed and before my 28th birthday I would be single again and living in a tiny apartment on my own. Perhaps that's why I feel like I'm only 26? It's like I went on hiatus from my life. There seems to be a significant gap between 27 and 30... a blur, even. It really wasn't until I was 30 that I started getting my life back on track... in fact, that I started living again!

So maybe that's it? I'm not 31, but starting over around 27 - like a do-over. As for Alex, he's only 8 and all is right in the World. :-)

Disclaimer: I may rant about the past, but I am who am I because of what I've seen and felt. I would never change any of it because without it I wouldn't be me... and I kinda like me.

Monday, March 12, 2007


I've stolen an idea from Chelle over at Chellezilla

"Leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember! Don't send a message, leave a comment on here. Next, re-post this in your [blog] and see how many people leave a memory about you."

Now we wait to find out if I have any friends. :-P

Friday, March 9, 2007

Just for the Hill of it

Yesterday I started hill training for my half-marathon.
Hill training is supposed to help make you stronger, faster and build your endurance. Generally speaking, hill training isn’t as scary as it sounds. Basically, you run up a steep hill (about 300 meters) until you just pass the crest. Then you slowly run back down to get your heart rate settled again. You repeat a minimum of three times (adding an extra hill every week). Well, I’ve discovered in this bitter cold that you CAN do hills on a treadmill. Yesterday I did three hills at the Y. After a brief warm up I ran at a 5.0 mile/hour speed, at a 4% incline for three minutes, then the same speed at a 1% incline for another 3 minutes. Repeat as needed. It was quite the work out, but I also enjoyed the comfort and convenience of the gym!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

There's a man on stilts in my office

No, a man on stilts is not a metaphor for life or code to let you know the CEO is in the building... there is literally a man on stilts in my office. He is currently hovering over my desk, plastering the wall. Meanwhile, another man is scraping the floor (think nails on a chalkboard) behind me, pausing for an occasional grunt or burp. My desk is currently sitting on the last piece of carpet in the area... I feel like I'm on an island. Soon they will be booting me out for a few hours while they replace the carpet beneath me. I'm looking forward to getting lots accomplished without any of my files (note the sarcasm). It's going to be another fun day in construction central again.

At least I can look forward to a brand new sunny space come Monday.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

It’s not like I quit… right?

I’ve decided to abandon my half-marathon clinic. That isn’t to say that I am no longer training for the Bluenose Half-Marathon in Halifax! I’m just not going to the weekly Running Room clinic. The reason I joined the clinic was to meet new runners and hopefully find some running partners. However, since the slow group decided they didn’t want to be slow and therefore all the really slow runners quit, I ran most weeks alone. Running along when you’ve paid to run with other people really defeats the purpose. So I asked if I could have my clinic transferred to the fall and my request was granted. Like I said, I’m still training and following the program, so it’s not like I actually quit!

Since I can’t seem to function unless I’m in overdrive, I’ve decided to take on another clinic! A few days after my Women’s Only clinic finishes I’ll be starting a Learn to Run clinic with a new group. I’m really looking forward to it as well. I’ve also wrangled up some help from both my sister and the boy. Both of them will be group leaders so I think that will be even more fun! However, I know I’ll miss my current group of women… I’m so proud of them! They will be running their first 5 km race in a week and a half and I can’t wait!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The office rumour: I have a serious medical condition

Back story: Because of my history with depression and sleeping issues, I luminotherapy for about an hour each day. I basically use this big, bright light that simulates sunlight. It resets my internal clock, helps me sleep better and gives me a little more energy. For the two years I’ve been using it, I’ve been getting up extra early and using it before work. It was getting to be a pain and I was using it less and less because I was running late in the morning. So I decided, what the hell, I’ll just bring it to work and use it there. I figured I would get questions but would tell people it gives me more energy and helps me sleep better. Case closed.

When I started working here 4 months ago, I was given a cubicle on the far end of the floor away from the rest of my team. I was told it was temporary as they were busting down walls and rearranging the entire cubicle. No problem. A few weeks after I brought the lamp to work, my boss said I would be moving to the other end of the floor as a temporary solution until the renovations where done. I figured it was to be closer to my team. I was also told that once the renovations would be complete, I would get a cubicle next to two humungous windows. I thought this was strange because at Sobeys you didn't get a window unless you where senior management, but I figured, who am I to argue!

So yesterday my boss was in town (he works from Montreal) and we had a meeting about how "things are going". He asked me if I was happy with my new space and I told him I was. He asked me if I was feeling better and if there was anything he could do to "help". I was like, Wah?? Well, apparently my recent move closer to a window was because I have a serious medical condition which requires that I always be exposed to natural light!!! I have no idea who interpreted this but I guess several people have pushed for me to be closer to a window. I figure it's the whole lamp thing. When people ask me what the lamp is, I tell them it's a sun lamp that I don't sleep well and the sun lamp helps my internal clock reset itself in the morning. Somehow that got translated to some kind of serious medical condition!

Then, my boss says apologetically that I can only get one window and that there have been complaints about my "special treatment". I didn't even know I NEEDED special treatment!!! Anyway, my boss wanted to know if I would be ok working with just one window. I told him I had no idea how this story had become so bent out of proportion. I told him the lamp thing is no big deal, that I just use my lamp for an hour each day so it doesn't matter if I work in a dark closet all day long; the lamp does its work. Anyway, I really hope no one thinks I'm weird because of this silly lamp now.

So this morning I get to work and the wall where I'm currently sitting has been torn down (as part of the renovations). Two of us have no overhead lights. I've already had four people (two of them I barely know) come see me out of concern for my need for light! I feel like a complete tool!! I almost feel like sending a mass email saying, I'm not dying from underexposure to natural light people! Get over it!

The boy says I should try to milk this. I should get cloudy days off due to lack of sunlight. Or on sunny summer days, I could get the day off for some "therapy" at the beach. I like his thinking.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The million dollar question

Do you ever imagine yourself as a millionaire? Of course, the thought has crossed my mind on occasion. Last week I bought a lottery ticket for Atlantic Lotto’s special Win a Million a Year for Life lottery. I’ll be honest. I rarely buy lottery tickets. In fact, I don’t even know what to do with them once I’ve bought them. So I gave the ticket to the boy so he could check the numbers and do whatever it is you do with a lottery ticket. Of course, I didn’t win, but the money did get me thinking.

What if we had won? I would do the obvious things with it; pay off debt, buy a new car, share with family, buy a new wardrobe, invest, etc. But my bigger issue is, would I buy a house? How sad that I actually took the time to analyse this. Hah! I’m currently staying with my Mom for a few months while I save up for a down payment on my first house. However, if I where to win a million, money wouldn’t be an issue and I could go ahead and buy my dream home, right? Well… maybe not. The boy and I have been dating for four months now. We aren’t in the “let’s move in together stage”, but we aren’t in the “this is just a casual thing and it will end eventually” frame of mind either. Plus, I have a strict, no moving in with a guy unless there is the potential for marriage policy. It’s not that I’m old fashion; it’s that I’m pragmatic. I’ve done the living together thing in the past and I’ve also done the dividing of the belongings after living together for 5 years. It’s no fun and I have no intention of doing it again. Of course, I'm not looking for some bling on my finger before I move in with a guy, but the subject would at least have come up and I would have to feel in my heart that this is someone I could marry. Suffice it to say, I’m not the move in on a whim type of gal.

Ok, back to the matter at hand. I’m planning on buying a house sometime this summer or early in the fall. However, the boy already owns a house and if we where to stay together long-term than my buying a house would be ridiculous, right? And if we were to move in together it would most likely be within the next year so moving into an apartment as a temporary solution would be quite silly on my part as well. It would mean moving out of my Mom’s place for what? Six months? Hardly seems worth it. I’m also not about to wait longer than a year before taking things to the next level in my relationship! Remember, I’m a girl on a mission: find boy, fall in love with boy, marry boy, have lots of babies and live happily ever after. The clock is ticking you know.

So this whole millionaire issue has got me thinking. What happens if I don’t know if the boy is “the one” by the time I’m ready to buy a house? Do I buy a house and hope he isn’t the one? Do I move in with him and hope that he is the one? Or, do I go retro and live with my Mom for the rest of my life until I find a suitable husband? Ummm. No.

Oh the drama! All this time I thought purchasing a house was about finances, investments and numbers, but what it’s really about is relationships! Who knew?