This year’s One-Word: Momentum. My focus will be on progress and action, rather than end-results. Note: These goals were designed prior to discovering (on 12/26) the probable root of my inflammation/illnesses/health issues (what shall be known from now on as the Devil-Bed). After some debate, I’ve decided not to change my focus for 2021, as the potential fallout from the Devil-Bed situation is too new to judge.
Medical: I need to catch up on the many, many backlogged medical tests/exams/visits that I’ve put off either due to covid or distrust (with good reason) of doctors. (A mammogram, an orthopedic surgeon, a urogynecologist, a sleep specialist, an endocrinologist, and a rheumatologist.) I also have a combo functional medicine and PCP physician covered by my insurance that I plan to change over to if my current new doctor ends up being hyper-focused on symptoms rather than the whole situation. Note: If my body goes back to being normal after removing the Devil-Bed from my life, some of these visits won’t matter anymore.
Current status: Met with endo (bust), two ortho surgeons, a GI specialist (bust), scheduled with rheumatology. Had 3 MRIs, two ultrasounds, 3 x-rays, and a CT scan; scheduled for a mammogram, potentially another MRI, and another x-ray. Wrist surgery done on 6/3 (still recovering). Looking for a new Ob/Gyn instead of a urogynecologist. Also broke my pinky toe on the right foot on 6/18, just to add variety to the mix. Then went into the hospital for colitis with sepsis in July, then rebroke my toe. Currently undergoing Airrosti therapy, first for foot then for hip, to try to resolve the left foot issue from last fall. (9/3)
Fitness: Generally, I’m pretty good in this category, so I’m aiming for some stretch goals here. I want to train for a half-marathon (can be walked or walk/run) throughout the year to build endurance with a tangible finish line. Along the way, I’d like to walk/run/hike 500+ miles and explore some new-to-me areas. Bonus points if I can improve my current mile and 5K PR!
Current status: Had to take May through August off re: foot injuries and sepsis, so very behind on miles now, though I’ve explored many new-t0-me locations. No running, no training for half-marathon at this point. (9/3)
Nutrition: This is an area that will require a lot of tweaking. Everything I’ve done – for the last five years – in terms of nutrition (food sensitivities, carb-balance, etc) has been influenced by the Devil-Bed, so I need to rediscover the best nutrition for my body. I’ll need to retest for food sensitivities, improve hydration-balance, and test carb-balance. Furthermore, I plan to cut coffee altogether (the earlier, the better) and generally move toward eating more real food again, with higher numbers of fruits and veggies (always a challenge for me!). This category may be a bit fluid depending on how my body changes post Devil-Bed.
Current status: The general move toward more real food has led to weight gain, depression, inflammation, fatigue, and bloodwork issues due to my carb percentage dropping below where my body likes it again. So the goal now is to work to keep my carbs up, with as many complex carbs as possible, but not eschewing simple carbs as much either. Finally quit coffee in July, though I had it too often to call it a full quit in August, so going 100 days without starting 9/1. (9/3)
Sleep: Insomnia remains my #1 health issue, ongoing for over nine years now. I’ve just replaced my Devil-Bed, which I hope will improve the situation. Furthermore, I plan to cut coffee altogether, get my nutrition right for my body, take regular magnesium citrate supplements, see another sleep specialist if necessary, and turn off all screens and blue-light early in the evening. (Yes, some of these goals are overlapping other categories. Health is interrelated!)
Current status: While I didn’t take any of the specific steps laid out here, most of 2021 had no insomnia even without sleeping aids, thanks to removal of the Devil-Bed.
Injury Prevention: Part of moving forward is making sure I’m not forced to a grinding halt, yeah? So I need to be consistent with stretching, yoga, foam rolling, and strength training (even when I dislike the latter two!).
Current status: Foot was injured in fall 2020 and they still don’t know what exactly the problem is. Wrist is recovering from surgery. Pinky toe broken in the summer. Lower back is very painful from the foot problems and weight gain. This isn’t going well. (9/3)
Home Environment: As we continue to shelter at home during this pandemic, I need to make my home environment more comfortable and less chaotic. Some of this is tangible, like finishing the house-construction bits that we can do ourselves (front yard; back siding; internal walls from siding construction; replace the boys’ toilet; rewire the garage). Some is monetary: paying down debt and not adding to it (especially with further house issues if at all possible!). The last bit is personal: begin mornings with some gentle yoga; improve and follow my routines even with everyone home (this is far hard!) especially on weekends; do more to keep the house uncluttered.
Current status: Finished several house projects (my wall, dining wall, some xeriscaping, deck); used the January stimulus check directly toward debts but unfortunately have more debt piled on with several thousand in multiple vet bills; put Jason’s yearly bonus, most of the tax refund, and the March stimulus check directly into debts which has helped a lot but still hasn’t fully zeroed out our unsecured debt yet. A few more house projects have popped up, adding to the mix. Then feral kittens. Then four car accidents and needing to replace two cars. Things are definitely still not comfortable in the home environment, or financially. (8/1)
Mental Health: Considering what 2020 has taken away, my mental health has been remarkably stable over the last year. To keep it that way, and improve it further, I need to return to regular yoga practice, continue hiking socially, get together with old friends when that’s allowed again, take a vacation if at all possible (our last one was Sept 2018!), get out of my comfort zone to explore new things/places, and potentially look into Sondermind to find a better therapist than I’ve been able to get in town.
Current status: I’ve realized that my trend toward eating whole foods/lower carb has caused a lot more depression/fatigue. The injuries to my feet and stepping back from hikes has led to more depression generally, plus the grief from loss of both my grandfather and Ash. The lack of exercise re: injuries and surgery is making this all so much worse. Plus I had to cancel one of the two semi-vacations I had planned for the fall, and change the other. (8/1)
Contribution: My family has been very fortunate throughout this pandemic, and it’s made us more conscious of the ways in which we can give back. Jason and I together decided that we want to avoid using Amazon and other big businesses as much as possible in 2021. Instead, we’ll focus our purchases on small or local businesses, especially women-owned, women-oriented, non-white-owned, and/or LGBTQIA-owned. Additionally, if at all possible re: covid, I’d like to volunteer at my local library this year.
Current status: I’ve made a list of small businesses that I recommend, plus a gift list that is completely away from Amazon. Jason and I have tried to buy off-Amazon when possible. Ongoing goal. (8/1)
Career/Identity: In 2020, I decided against the career I had in mind, because I realized that I absolutely do not want to go back to the traditional academic route. I’ve spent months thinking about careers I’ve considered over the last decade. One has stood out over the rest. I’m not ready to discuss the details publicly, but in 2021, I’d like to read, study, and explore this direction to see if it ends up a viable, feasible path for me. “Career” has never been a dream of mine, and I’ve never had more than a vague thought about what I wanted to do beyond raising and taking care of my family. So when I do choose a path, I want it to be more than “a job.” I want to do something that I can put my passion into. This goal is about discovering if my initial passion and interest is one I can mold into something more. (And yes, I 100% recognize that this is an incredibly privileged place to be in, and am grateful for the opportunity to explore.)
Current status: progress made, still not ready to discuss publicly, however, also had some ah-ha moments re: school, so that might influence the future; right now focusing solely on getting well, however. (8/1)
Yes, there are results I’d like to get out of my 2021 goals. These markers aren’t aims to reach for, but hopeful outcomes. Some are already mentioned above:
- Find/fix any secondary cause(s) of my inflammation/illnesses
- Improve VO2 Max
- Improve resting heart rate
- Improve one-mile and 5K PR times
- Decide on a future career path
- Walk/run/hike 500+ miles
- Complete 30+ pushups
- Decrease overall family debt
- Lose weight (yes, I have a specific number in mind, but more importantly, I’d like to get my weight generally trending in the right direction)
- Find doctors I can trust and that will help me