And pre-Christmas blues

Actually, I had pre-Christmas blues instead of post-Christmas and WOW they were horrible. I wrote a cheery blog post two days before I had time off, I had talked with a counselor and I was feeling pretty darn great!

And then my last day of work, basically everything exploded and it was horrible.

I learned that two of our staff members were leaving, to add to the two who had already left in Dec. I went to the gym for lunch, and came back to work and was called in to my friend and former manager’s office urgently.

I was curious, wondering why she needed to see me so urgently?

Our friend and my former colleague had died that week. 😦

I was completely shocked, stunned and heartbroken. She is so young, only in her early thirties. I knew she had been sick, but I had no idea how bad her illness had been, and how long she had been in the hospital for. It was heartbreaking.

I numbly went back to my desk and felt terrible.

I stumbled through work that day, talking with our mutual friends and colleagues. I felt like I was sleepwalking, that this wasn’t happening to her. When I came home, I cried.

I also learned that Oats was lame again, literally three days before I was also supposed to be flying to visit family in Kelowna. WTF.

I collapsed, basically. I didn’t know what to do and it felt like my entire being, not just my brain, was collapsing inward on itself like a dying star.

My dear friend who is a total sweetheart came by and gave me some of her delicious toffee-bark and chocolates (she is the best!!) and she could tell that I was having a terrible time of it. I was.

So there I was, a few days before Christmas and my world imploded.

Help me

My life in a nutshell. Check out the artist exhibit at https://www.vancouverbiennale.com/artworks/vancouver-novel/

So, yeah.

Yesterday’s update was ok. Not good, not bad. Truth be told, I struggle every single day with this strange, ‘Groundhog Day’ life I live now. I basically complain every day that things never get better- only worse. That isn’t true, but darn it feels like it is.

So far this year/month/months/existence…

I had some time off this summer, long weekends and such- after working on 40 events in 2 weeks, it would be nice to have time off right? WRONG. We got seriously affected by bad air quality, thanks to forest fire smoke sweeping across our province. I sat inside and cried all weekend, most weekends. Time off was my enemy.

My mental health started crumbling. Pretty badly actually. I’m going to start taking anti-anxiety medication, to see if I can get through this period of my life.

I accidentally poisoned myself with Lobster mushrooms. Now that is a fun experience…It felt like my stomach was turning itself inside-out.

At the same time as my painful food poisoning, I had a SEVERE flare-up of endometriosis. So fun. Imagine your stomach in incredible pain, and then having excruciating cramps, bloating, back pain and crushing fatigue at the exact same time. I couldn’t eat, I was starving, and yet my abdomen was so bloated out I couldn’t do up my jeans. I have been on a treatment for this disease, but man, the flare-ups are killing me.

I got a cold, out of nowhere? How? I don’t even go anywhere?

I haven’t really felt that motivated to do anything that I normally enjoy. I run a lot, when I’m too sick or weak to do so. But I feel like a hollow shell of who I used to be, generally.

I got sick, from some bizarre reaction to wine of all things? I had a 7-day sinus headache, chills, body aches, and fatigue. I had to get a COVID19 test, because those were all symptoms, of course. It was negative, luckily! But the test itself also didn’t work that well- it jammed against my sinuses and they said they’d never had that happen before… Now it feels like I have a hole in my left sinus. WTF?

I was too weak from the cold, and then back-to-back disease flare-up and concurrent mushroom poisoning to do much working out, running, or anything. I basically worked, and then went to job # 2, Oats.

Oats then got diagnosed with cushings. A mild case, the vet was careful to tell me, but worth treating ASAP. So, I get to now spend more $$$$ than ever on a broken pony. He is on Previcox for arthritis, Prascend for cushings, I had to buy low-sugar hay, and now monthly vet visits for ultrasounds and check-ups. Yay.

I had to edit this to add that I broke off about half a tooth eating popcorn in Nov as well. Fortunately the dentist could save the rest of the tooth and patch it together with a big filling, but he warned me that if I break another chunk off (like the molar I broke off last year at the same time) I will need a crown and it’s the end of the line for that tooth. LOVE IT. EFF.

So, yeah. Lots to be thankful these days <<sarcasm alert>>

Eulogy for you and me

I stopped writing this blog on Aug. 13. That was when Oats was diagnosed with a tear in his mesotendon, the membrane that covers the medial tendon near the DDFT. I just had this 3-month check up yesterday, and how has it progressed?

All we can do is walk.

Good and bad. He does not need surgery, as it didn’t break loose. It, however, is HUGE. So…That’s not great. Any bad movement and it will snap ‘like a rubber band…’ according to my vet. So, yeah. I didn’t even ask about long term prognosis, it didn’t seem worth it.

No turnout- ever again. 😦

I can start trot rehab with him, for the next 2-3 months (what the vet calls actually rehab. My other work with him, every single goddamned day, was merely recovery. Hah.) Shoot me.

Goodbye forever jumping

Oats at least has been the ideal rehab candidate. Not stupid in the arena, basically turned into a chubby, lazy slug. I can appreciate that greatly, given he had a few major freakouts over the past three, going on four, months. I will take lazy! He thinks he is retired now.

I will do the trot rehab, with my rehab partner who handles Fridays for me (a steal at $30/day!), and then we have another re-check before he will be allowed to canter. That takes us to 7 months of this effing journey. Yay.

I have been out at the barn every single day since Aug. 6 to help Oats with his recovery (except for Fridays starting mid-Sept, phew). It’s a lot. I have not felt happy, contented in months. I don’t have great sense of humour anymore. I cringe at the touch from another person. I just wish I could get out of it.

After this saga, I was saying I either want 3 horses, or no horses. How much pain are you willing to deal with? I don’t know anymore, but I guess a lot.

It’s not a secret unless it hurts you to keep it

Oats is lame, and this time it’s not a ‘oh just a big abscess’ sigh of relief. He is REALLY lame, and it looks serious, and it felt serious. And I also feel like I caused it.

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From this, last weekend…

He went kind of off on Thursday. I got to the barn early to set up some jumps in the field (love jumping in the field!!) and prepare for my Thursday lesson, which is my dressage lesson but to keep Oats fresh and interested, we do some jumps here and there too, mixed in.

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To this, this weekend. FML. 

When I got Oats into the cross-ties, my heart sank, a bit. I saw his right hind ankle/pastern was very slightly swollen. I knew that this meant he was very likely lame, and I was right, unfortunately. I took him down to the field, hopped on, walked around to warm up and trotted…BAM. Head-bobbing lame on the right. Pretty good on the left though.

We both saw it, I definitely felt it, and I hopped off to cold hose & wrap his leg. It wasn’t that bad, the swelling and everything, so on Friday I decided to saddle him up and ride him, see if a day off made a difference (he was not turned out at all). He was ok, about 80% there so I could sense ‘some’ change but nothing that bad. We did light w/t/c and slowed to a walk, I was going to hop off and everything changed in 1 instant. He stumbled, HARD, and almost went down.

He was instantly, seriously, lame.

Game over for us. 😦

With my friend facing a recent, terrible lameness episode (that will take up to 2 years of rest/rehab) to resolve, it’s fair to say I am on an absolute hair trigger. Oats has a vet appointment on Thursday and every single day I play a miserable waiting game. This summer has been just terrible.

My own personal pain journal

So, things are going but also going sideways, haywire, etc. My work is nuts (I am directly involved in public information), and also we are seeing a lot of things shake down, as part of the pandemic.

It’s so stressful- for all. I am not a frontline worker, but I see the effects of this day by day. I am writing a list of fun things I want to do when this blows over/winds down (go travel, go out for a team breakfast! Run! Do a race!), but in the meantime, I vacillate between extreme self-pity,  fear and paranoia, to ‘it’s all okay’. UGH.

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Welcome darkness, my old friend… I REALLY don’t want to do this again. But I might. I guess when you’re going through hell, keep going. 

I also have a recurring stress fracture, so I can’t even run right now. Man, when it rains, it freaking pours eh? I guess the timing is (good? I disbelieve that word even as I write it) now that I can’t race anyways.

Just…Fuck me.

I did have a nice weekend though, believe it or not! I had a riding lesson on Saturday and Oats was great! He was my little superstar~ I rode on Sunday and let too much angst out, and I know I shouldn’t have. I am easily triggered right now, and I want to make it up to Oaty! He is being the best boy he knows how.

It was also like, gale-force windy this weekend, ALLLLLLL weekend. It finally lessened up on Sunday, so I rode and then my husband and I hiked up Mt. Finlayson. There I learned I am a huge chicken, and I was afraid of the steep, rocky bluff ascent. Yikes!

I refused to go back down that way (jesus, no.) in part because I was afraid of it, and also it was smoking busy! I didn’t feel comfortable hiking with so many people swarming around.

We went the long way down, got a bit turned around (thanks to the signs closing the one pathway that actually links back to the parking lot…sheesh), and then we made it home. And we shared a hotdog! Yum! 🙂

I then drank wine, sat in the sun with a blanket – yes it was still chilly- but the sun had some strength that day.

So where does that leave us? Uncertain. Out of my control- even my body is out of my control. My mind? Yeah, that’s gone too. I don’t know anymore. But I can ride, so I will do that now and just …Keep on.

To quote Charles Dickens:

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

Like a child hiding behind your tombstone

Ha, weird title but I liked it- from a song on my Spotify play list last week. As I mentioned earlier, this has just been a tough week for many in my personal life- my friend’s horse being euthanized with a broken leg, my one trainer has to put her beloved dog down on Wednesday as well, and just…. My heart aches for them. I have faced loss before, and I know how horrible and deep it is. Just so challenging.

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From last spring! 

I also had a marathon week of lessons for me and dear Oats! Kind of mixed too. Not like, over the moon amazing at all. But ok! He had a lesson with his beginner rider on Tuesday (he does not have to work that hard), and a jump lesson with me on Wed (we worked on canter-in bounce grid gymnastics, which was HARD work!) and then another jump lesson for me last night- I was sooooooooooo late, I got to the barn as my lesson was supposed to be ending… Great. I got stuck in a huge traffic jam for TWO HOURS. Eff my life. Fortunately my trainer was aware and waited for me, and my friend helped me tack up in a big rush and off we were!

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Remember this from last spring? SO good! 

I will admit to feeling super frazzled, ha. I was having trouble connecting with Oats, feeling rushed and really tired, and I haven’t been feeling well this week at all either, along with having trouble sleeping. = success?? Ha, no. I ate mane! I disconnected and misjudged a take off spot and just straight up jumped up his neck. At a crosspole. Facepalm.
Oats, while a fabulous teacher, will still make you work for it and he does not really give many freebies. Whoops!

I tried again and since he has a heart of gold, he was like, ah yes why didn’t you say so! Jumped perfectly.

He was however kind of lazy and tired last night, and combined with me being tired and frazzled, led to a lot of miscommunications, disconnects and breaking into trot! Argh!

Oh well, the exercise we worked on was really cool- lots of slicing jumps, and jumping an ‘arrow’ shape- both into the arrow, and with the arrow. Jumping into the arrow is interesting because it’s one narrow point! Have to be straight,  very straight. Oats had no problems with it 🙂

Dressage lesson tonight, and then Oats has his beginner lesson on Saturday as she had to do a make-up ride from the storm incident last week. Phew Oats! It is good that he is getting out every day though, because of the pretty bad weather we have had this winter the horses are not getting turned out- the paddocks are like slippery swamps.

Now I’m not so young and looking for a fight

I feel like I held it together really well this week, up until oh…Thursday? Then, everything kind of broke loose and I had what felt like a slow-moving meltdown. I guess I’m glad it took until Thursday?

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Last weekend was pretty beautiful and not that cold! 

Our first full week and work was BANANAS. Events every single day (and into next week too, natch!), my trainer received some really terrible news and had to cancel jump lessons last night (probably good, because I was in a truly horrible mood), my mother decided to make an issue of me not attending a cousin’s wedding (in Feb, in the middle of nowwhere, and by the way I’m not close to them, though they are lovely people), I hadn’t gotten paid yet for Oat’s lease, and when I got to the barn, my jump crop was missing, and when I got home, I ripped the mailbox off the side of my house. LOVELY.

Sooooo yeah.

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I really liked the festival of lights! 

Anyways, I brought this awful mood to Oats in my warm-up, something that I am not happy with myself about, but the good news is that my friends were doing some jump schooling anyways and I did a few jumps and YES that always improves my mood!! Oats was a star and good boy as always 🙂 and the funniest part was when we were cooling out, I dropped the reins and let him go on ‘pony cruise control’ following his friend horse. It was so funny! It definitely improved my mood. What a little sweetheart…

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Friends! 

We are also facing a real bout of nasty winter weather, with wind gusts this AM up to 80 km/hr, snow?? and rain. So far just rain and it’s not cold enough to snow here, but yeahh…Next week is looking VERY ugly- a high of -2? In Victoria?? Noooo! But I won’t get too angsty.

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Very cool! 

I did have friends to hear me out about the work/family situation, which I really appreciate. God, some people just get under your skin, and stay there like a piece of glass! Mostly family! Ha.

Dressage lesson tonight- and I hope Oats feels a little more flexible through his neck, but I’m not holding my breath- we will see what horse we get on the day, right?

I hope they get it right this time

Apparently pain is a great teacher. I hope it is, because lately all I feel is pain (emotional and physical?).

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My leg feels like a throbbing mass of pain basically everyday. I HATE IT. 

I had an amazing spring and early summer, it felt great! Things were falling into place (I won a small half marathon! Oats and I made our 2’6” debut and it was fantastic!) and was really in this ‘challenge me’ type of mentality that I was getting a lot out of and feeling strong and confident!
Now, it feels like everything that I worked hard for kind of went off the tracks. Oats went suddenly lame before a big horse show I was really looking forward to, and we had to pull out. That same week I tripped running home over a small hose leading to a construction site and face-planted quite dramatically on the pavement. I was ok with no serious injuries, but it scared me, was painful, and took a week or so to heal.

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The last show that went well. I see a lot of things to fix, but I remember having a really fun time and smiling. How do I capture that joy again? 

At the same time I tripped and fell, I unknowingly had developed an overuse injury in my leg and couldn’t run at all. I have now been off for a month, and while I am getting treatment for it, it is a slow process and can expect to be injured for another month at least. I am (or was..) in the middle of training for a fall marathon and now I feel like giving up.
Oats came sound after a few weeks- longer than I thought he would be off, which was anxiety inducing to say the least- (after I healed from my fall) and things just haven’t been very smooth. I feel frustrated and things just don’t feel happy and easy, like they were before everything happened. Our rides are full of tension and while I am taking lessons regularly, we have good moments but on the whole it feels rough, awkward and makes me feel unhappy.
This came to a head this weekend when I had him at a small, no-stress schooling show and he felt AWFUL. Tense, unhappy, distracted and very anxious. We were at the same show a month ago and it was night and day! I have such happy memories of how thrilled I was at the show and I was saying I loved riding him so much I wanted to canter forever, it felt so amazing!! We were actually worried he had an episode of gas colic, he was so out of sorts and acting strangely. Not like Oats at all!
I can’t really ascribe all of his behaviour to me and what I am feeling (mostly frustrated and in pain) he could just be having an off day too, but he does mirror me closely sometimes. Too closely.
I am taking a step back this week and having my friend and competent rider take over my jump lesson so I can watch. All I feel like doing these days is griping and crying about what I can’t do?! I feel like I can’t trust myself or my body to do or know the right things anymore.
When is the next step the right move? Where do I go from here?

Living a double life & Mr Oats updates

I just saw the movie ‘The Double’ which was bizarre (yes Terry Gilliam bizarre, definitely shades of Brazil in there), and it kind of reminded me about how this week I feel like I have been living with two of me.

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The ‘normal’ me?

Gets up like a normal person, goes to work, works out at lunch, comes home, walks the dog, gets dressed for riding, has a good ride on Oats, comes home, hangs out with husband, relaxes and reads before bed. The normal me looks forward to weekends, and is seriously considering a surf trip to Tofino next weekend. The normal me also enjoys running, and is running a race this weekend for fun. Good, right? The normal me enjoys downtime and watches more shows than just chain-watching ’30 Rock’.

The ‘other’ me

Gets mad at husband when he doesn’t wake me up on time. Dreads reading emails, for fear of getting another frighteningly sad or crazy one from mom. Doesn’t always answer the phone, because it might be another awkward, sad conversation that I’m not always willing to have. Cries at the gym at lunch. Is sad and moody with coworkers. Tells too many people at the stables about how her family is falling apart. Snaps easily at husband for no real reason (Me: WHY did you dump my cold water from my water bottle??! I wanted to drink that!! Him: Well, I can just pour you some water from the fridge into your water bottle. Me: NO it’s not the same.) Chain-watches ’30 Rock’ because anything else feels too sad and heavy.

Man, it’s not easy, this emotional stuff?!

Jump Oats!

Jump Oats!

The good news (if there is a good side to this) is that SOME things at work that make me laugh, (garbage pail kids, anyone?) that my riding lessons on Oats have been on the whole VERY good – my jumping last night felt great, we were going so smoothly, straight, and with a fabulous rhythm! Yeah for jumping tiny weeny jumps, but I’m quite happy with how easy it is starting to feel. I don’t feel as panicked and concerned, and I’m flowing nicely. Even got to make up my own course and it was great!

So…ups and downs. Everyone goes through this, I guess. I’m just going to try to keep the crabby on a leash or under a lid for as long as I can.

Why I’m not a New Years Resolutioner

So, I guess I’m going to continue feeling cranky and crabby. My parent drama really came to head yesterday, just before I was going to check out a new gym- Steve Nash Fitness– to test out their group fitness classes (that I had a free pass for, for a few months). Needless to say, the group fitness classes didn’t happen and will probably have to wait.

My New Years Resolution

My New Years Resolution

I’m still not feeling great about it, but I am trying to be supportive. As it turns out, that is harder to do than I thought.

So, I have my dressage lesson tonight and quite frankly, still feel very brain-drained. Emotional turmoil is tiring. So tiring.

But anyways, when I was trying to plan my new workout class yesterday, and when I was at my work gym today for my usual 30-40 minute daily workout, I was struck again by the ‘born again New Years Resolutioners’.

You know the type…Typically flabby, middle-aged women but sometimes men, try-hards who are ‘going to get this year off to the right start!!!”

They sport all the gimmicks- FitBit, new running shoes (in neon, though I have neon shoes too haha), iPods gripped in their hands, all they do is talk about their new naturopath and their recommended holistic treatments, and spend all of their time lolling around on the mats or foam rollers instead of doing any solid workouts.

These are people I have NEVER seen at the gym before January 1. I have my regulars, hell, I am a regular, haha. I listened to one woman talk to another in the change room (sidenote: why do people take freaking forever to get changed, arranged, and IPodded up? Get in, get changed and GTFO!!!!!).

They were saying about how going to the gym was such a better idea than trying to run after work (agreed- I only run after work in spring/summer/fall, as it’s too dark and unsafe in the winter) and how they were all prepared this year!!! They had all the songs they wanted loaded on their iPods, they had bought new running shoes, they had the newest workout clothes….

I just wanted to say- I, sporting my non music, my cut-off gym pants, and ratty tank-top, enough with the STUFF and enough with the BS and get on a machine and GET GOING!

Enough with the talk and rolling around. Get up, get in and get out. Rinse and repeat. You have to do it every day (and for me, I’m talking years of the same routine) that it becomes a mindless exercise to get to the gym and get down to business. If I had to wait for a friend? I’d never freaking go. You know why? Because THEY would never go!

I mix up my workouts though– I do get really stuck in a rut sometimes (hence the trying out of new group fitness workouts I mentioned earlier) but it’s too important to just GO AND DO IT. Don’t wait for a new year, a Monday, a new you, a friend, anything.

You can’t rely on trinkets, gadgets, new clothes, other people, the weather, anything. You have to rely on you. That is the only thing I have literally learned, doing this. I am a lunchtime warrior, haha.

And I am no saint with this either. I am a dessert-with-lunch-and-dinner type of person. I workout too much sometimes for no reason. I don’t necessarily have any good goals – though this year I am proud to say I signed up for an Island Run series!! Yeah! I am trying to fix my knee problem, though that is very slow going.

People are literally excuse machines. I can be (about my riding/jumping/showing goals, because I am an anxiety-riddled huge chicken who has something to prove, apparently), but I am NOT about my workouts, or the amount and intensity of riding I do – which is tons, and quite intense.

Me this year

Me this year

I’m doing it. And sometimes, that’s enough, because I do it every.single.day.