Friday, March 9, 2018

On juggling too much and spacing out

When stirring the oatmeal, she had a moment without anxiety.

Then she thought, "I'm not anxious!" And the chattering began anew.

I thought this would be a good description in a novel or short story about a character who overthinks. Or maybe a caption to a New Yorker cartoon caption mocking a character's earnestness.

What is there to be anxious about?


I actually started this blog post about a week ago and then forgot about it.

It has been a period of forgetting and remembering and realizing that I am doing too many things at once, none of them particularly well.

I missed a couple of deadlines, not by much, just a couple of days, attributing it to the short month of February where I was thinking two stories were due at the end of the week (March 2) instead of the end of the month (Feb. 28), which could be solved by writing EVERYTHING down.

I therefore rededicate myself to writing everything down.

At both of my newspaper jobs, I can honestly say I never missed a deadline.

That desk calendar right in front of me really helped. I have a desk but I prefer writing at the kitchen table looking out at the yard, and a desk calendar would not help the feng shui of the kitchen, which is my favorite room.

I had a period of not much going on and then asked for more work and got it all at the same time.

This would also happen at the paper, but it was easier to juggle in those days. Sure, I had kids' schedules, but I was lucky to have a job where I could integrate them into my work life.

It is those trips to Boston that can sometimes throw me off.

Last week was particularly challenging.

ECP on Wednesday (the internal sunburn to tame my graft vs. host of the skin) and PDT on Thursday (photodynamic therapy to head off skin cancer by burning the top layer of skin off my face, aka face fry), and the anticipation of the combination plus the combination itself threw me off.

Plus, the face fry HURT a lot for a day or two, with oxycodone-level burning and stinging. It subsisted pretty quickly, but the thinking about it didn't.

I have it done once a year. My dermatologist said she heard it works better when you do it twice a year, so I'm scheduled to do it again in May.

Throughout the 15 years of dealing with this (crazy, isn't it?), I always do what they say.

I figure, after all, that I am at a world class hospital and they know what they're doing.

However, I emailed my dermatologist to say I would really like to avoid getting it again this spring.

You have to stay out of the sun for a few days after it, and that's when I want to be outside. I'm not supposed to be out in the sun as much as I am as it is, and this adds another layer of sensitivity.

I NEED to do the tennis and the running (OK, slow jogging) and the walking because those are as important as my big overflowing bag of pills.

In the inclement weather the past week I decided to go swimming one day. Like any kind of exercise, it's better if you do it consistently. I had gotten to where I felt OK with it, but skipped so much time (it's not my favorite), that when I got in the pool it was hard to get in the rhythm. Near the end of 24 laps (the amount that I had decided to do), I tried to take a Zen approach – counting laps with no chattering. A friend who used to run a lot says he has switched to swimming and has managed to get the same high. I'm not a true believer, but I have gotten a little bit of that in spurts. It is nothing like when in the old days of running, though.

I got about half the length of the pool in quiet swim mind mode before I started thinking again.

It's better than nothing I guess. And I have to say that when I was finished, I felt virtuous and nicely stretched out.

Any kind of exercise is good for anxiety, for sure.

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