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Living the Dream... or pretending to...

I sat in the doctor's office last Wednesday with an overwhelming feeling of anxiety, on the verge of tears, waiting for the doctor to come in. When she entered, she smiled and asked me to tell her a little about myself. I started sharing my symptoms: overwhelming fatigue, sleepless nights for months, a shoulder injury, chronic hip/hamstring issues, anxious heart palpations, heartburn, indigestion, and the feeling like life is never going to get easier and each day is an uphill, lonely climb.

She then asked me what had been going on in my life over the past few months leading up to this visit. Let's see... raising money for our charity and racing in my first Ironman triathlon, a move across the country, a new job for my husband where instead of having the flexibility of working from home, helping with the kids, and making his own hours, he is now working for a large company, punching a clock and working very structured hours, new schools, chronic injuries which haven't allowed stress release training since the Ironman, attempting to meet new people and finding where we fit in this new town, a second move, and oh yes, raising a child with special needs and learning to navigate the systems and paperwork which has become a full-time job in itself, thus alienating me from other moms and kids. The past 9 months here in Colorado have been harder than we ever imagined.

What did she do? She gave me a hug and said, "let's start taking care of you."

Suddenly, a weight had been lifted that had been sitting on my shoulders for months. In addition to the normal "girlie" exam, she ordered bloodwork that showed my hormone levels are a little off, and recommended me see an acupuncturist that they are affiliated with to help with some of the hormone, stress and anxiety issues - western and eastern medicine working together Finally!!- and finally starting to take back charge of this poor body that has been beaten up with workouts, moves, lifting my 45 pound wiggly worm daughter, and the stress of the past year.

I think one of the hardest things for special needs parents is taking the time to take care of themselves. We live in a world of virtual reality. We share with others what we think they would like to see about our world, how we are soaring and embracing the life we have been given. We post pictures on Facebook and Instagram of our beautiful life, the smiles of our children, and how we are overcoming the odds and living. The reality is that often people don't want to really know what our reality is. They don't want to hear about the scrubbing of a 7 year old's poop off the walls when you leave her for one minute to go to the bathroom yourself, how the "system" that is supposed to be in place to help families and their children teaches you how to be a B*%$#, having to fight every day for your child, and while on the phone fighting, your child is getting into things they shouldn't and putting who knows what into their mouths. They don't want to know that if we attempt to go out to dinner, our child will grab food and plates and throw them, make a game of attempting to spill the drinks the waitress is bringing to the table (even though the waitress has been warned in advance), and half the time you just say screw it and get the meal to go, feeling your heart ache as you see the disappointment in your other daughter's eyes from yet another outing ruined. You can't do trade outs with other moms and drop your child off in childcare at the gym so you can get a workout in. You don't get anniversary trips away with your spouse or even date nights unless you find someone you can really trust to look after your children and even then, that can get costly because you feel you should pay the babysitter more since she is having to go above and beyond to take care of your children. But we smile, we dress up to go out to the grocery store so we look like we have our act together (okay, people who know me know I don't really dress up, but I do put on clean workout clothes and usually a running skirt to look fresh and fit, even if I feel worn out and beaten up), and we get out of bed each day, ready to tackle what our children and life throws at us, poop parties and all.

Somehow this post took a crazy turn (as does most days of my life). I was planning to write all about the XTERRA Mountain Championships in Beaver Creek this past weekend. For me, most often, it is not the race that is the adventure, but rather the journey to get to the starting line. For this race, my training was way less than it ever has been leading up to a big race because of all of the above. I am not making it up or using it as an excuse. It is what it is. I would have loved to have the time, motivation and energy to train for the race, but swimming at most once/week, paying a personal trainer to patch up my body rather than make it stronger and race ready, biking, if lucky, with my hubby on the new trails behind our house on a Saturday- babysitter and weather permitting (Colorado weather has been a huge wet mess this year) as my only bike "workouts", stopping to take pictures and explore along the way, hasn't really made me feel even close to prepared for a long race up in the Rocky Mountain High Country with the best off-road triathetes in Colorado and the US. Plus, I'm tired. It's been a long year. This year, however, helped prepare me to tackle the mountains better than I expected. To see how the race and day turned out, stay tuned to my next post!

Hiking the trails behind our house with Hailey


  1. The poop never seems to end, does it. :-) We miss you, Deanna!


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