Category Archives: Female health issues

Lost and Found

Already drunk, lonely, angry, feeling hopeless, I walked purposefully down 6th Street to another bar. I don’t remember what pushed me over the edge to making this life-changing decision. I do remember the inside of that dark, elbow to elbow,  smoke-filled bar. I remember walking up to a total stranger and asking if he had any ecstasy for sale. It was the mid-1980s, and I was a college student living in Austin.  A recent breakup had left me lost and obsessed with why it happened and in an emotional storm that I made much worse with drinking. Going to class became hit or miss. I was living alone in a one bedroom apartment and had no real friends. I can barely remember anything before this night, not what classes I was taking or if I was working or what I was doing before I walked into that club, probably due to PTSD.

“I don’t have any on me, but I can get you some.”, he said, looking at me suspiciously, as if it was a trap. Who was this dumb White chick walking up to him, assuming he had drugs? I guess it was common enough back then for him to decide I was not a cop.  Why I didn’t say “never mind” and just walk away and go home, I don’t know. I went with him, leaving the safety of the crowd, getting into a car with him and another guy on the premise that we were going to get ecstasy somewhere,  and Satan took over from there. My brain has blocked out some details, but I remember some of it. I was taken to a secluded place, by then I was wide awake and terrified. Terrible things were done to me. I’d rather not describe it because some people in my life would be very hurt to read this. It’s making my heart rate increase just typing this. The good news is I am ALIVE to type this. The men who did this seem to be the type that would be okay with murder as well.

After they committed the first crimes against me, they decided they wanted to commit more crimes and made me take them to my apartment because they wanted my debit card which I had lost and I said I had another one there, hoping that if I cooperated, they wouldn’t hurt me more. When we arrived there, I left the door of the apartment open , I can still see it open in my mind even though I only lived there a very short time and can’t remember anything about that apartment. I give God the credit for telling me to run, because I hadn’t exactly had good instincts up to that point. I was able to get outside the door, making some comment to them, I don’t remember what I said, and I took off running across the parking lot. I was not a runner back then, but I probably ran faster than I can run now.

It was still dark of night and I saw some people partying on their balcony and I yelled help me , help me! I ran toward where I figured the door would be and after that I don’t remember much. I think they called the police and I was taken to the police station at that point and I do remember making a report and then calling my brother who came to get me.

My life changed after that. I was able to move into a different apartment, but I lived in fear that those men would come looking for me. I cut back on partying , but I still drank too much. I stopped going to those bars. I was still depressed and somewhat self-destructive, but I knew I really wanted to be alive. I just wanted to be happy and not lonely. Eventually, the PTSD was too much and I dropped out of school. On an impulse one day, I loaded up my car and drove through a snowstorm to Denver and slept on my parent’s couch for a few months. I got myself together enough to go back to college and I graduated. Then I started my own business. Then I got married. Then I had six kids. And here I am.  A mostly happy, fairly productive, basically normal person with a #metoo story.

What was done to me by those men left mental scars and bad memories,  but it wasn’t the end of my life. I am not bitter and I choose to leave their judgment to God since nothing ever came of my police report. I do have some lingering fears that I continue to work on and running has really helped me with that , along with getting closer to good people and truly learning to turn to God instead of just going nuts and following my emotions. I have forgiven myself for my mistakes and for putting myself in harm’s way that night by trying to buy drugs, but I do not blame myself for their actions. Rape is an act of violence and always the fault of the perpetrator , not the victim. In case anyone has any questions, yes, I tried to talk them out of it and tried to resist and I was beaten. There was no way to escape until later when I ran. But this all happened a long time ago and yet, not long enough.

I wanted to share this true story in hopes of helping other victims. You are not alone. It’s not your fault. You can heal. You can live your life with hope. There are good people in the world. You can learn to protect yourself from the bad ones, sometimes, but it can still happen. Don’t live in fear, but don’t put yourself in danger either. If you are in a bad place in your life , seek help. There is hope!

If you’ve read my other blogs, you might know that I am a strong Christian. You might wonder if I was a Christian at that time. I thought I was . I was saved as a child, Baptized, loved Jesus,  reading the Bible and going to church. I even went to church after I moved to Austin. But I had strayed far from God. I was living a life of rebellion, making my own rules, deciding what was okay, no longer studying the Bible for God’s truth, but instead making my own interpretations. I had fallen in with a crowd that I had no business with. Yes, I was a Christian. I think God saved me from a worse fate that night, but He let me see where I was headed if I didn’t turn off that path. He showed me a very dark and seedy side of life, where there were no rules, certainly no fear of God’s judgment. That was not me. I am a child of God! Up to then, I was just playing around with sin and danger, but that night, I left the road completely. Up to then I had never tried to buy drugs from anyone or broken any laws. I still had goals and cared what people thought of me.  Did I want to die? Not really, but I was full of self-pity, depressed, and maybe looking for drugs from strangers was a cry for attention. I don’t really know, but it woke me up. I completely stopped some of the things I was doing and began to rebuild myself. Of course, God was working on me, but I still thought I was in charge and it took time. Running home to my parents was not optimal , I lost credit in my classes and I lost the money I spent on them and my apartment deposit and I am not really sure what happened to all my furniture and stuff, maybe my brother went and got it for me. But I needed to feel safe and have time to get myself together. When I returned to school I was ready to finish. I was okay with being alone.

Are you in rebellion? Are you still lost and don’t know that Jesus can and wants to save you? Are you making up your rules or feel like there are no rules and life is pure chaos? If you’re reading this , you at least have access to the internet where you can read and study and learn about God. Start with confessing your rebellion, ask God to forgive you! Then Believe that Jesus is real and is the son of God as the Bible teaches and ask him to forgive your sins forever. Are you a Christian living in sin? Confess it and ask forgiveness! God will let you rebel and wallow in sin if that is your desire. Humble yourself and cry out for help! But also make real changes if you need to, like getting away from people who encourage you to sin or rebel with them. There are plenty of them. But there are plenty of good people out there, too!

Let me add that I do not believe that all rapes or bad things are a result of a person’s being in rebellion against God.  This is my story and I am just sharing what was going on in my life and I do think it contributed to my putting myself in danger, even though I do NOT blame myself for what was done to me. But criminals, rapists, evil people, they are opportunists. They look for a chance to get something they want without too much risk. Don’t put yourself in that position. Sometimes rape happens when we are with someone we trust and there is really nothing anyone can do about that. We can only be on alert for any signs of odd behavior and even then, some people give no warning of their bad intentions. If you can take self-defense classes and/or carry a weapon, I do think that can help your chances of escaping or preventing an attack. If it’s already happened to you, I am very sorry. I pray that you will be able to heal and live the rest of your life with no thoughts of it being your fault. I pray that you will get any help you need to feel safe and whole again. Rape does not have to destroy us. We can choose to take control of our thoughts and feelings about what happened. We can choose to believe that we are not damaged goods. We can look for the good in the world and, even more, in Jesus.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. Romans 12:17-19

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Being 12 again: Or the reality of Mid-life

The brain fog lifted briefly this morning and I realized that what I am going through right now is exactly what every one of us, male and female, struggled through at around age 12, give or take a year or two. Think back and recall the way your body suddenly took on a mind of it’s own and all you could do is hang on for the ride. One day your clothes fit and the next they were too tight or maybe too short. If you were truly unfortunate you may have become quite chubby even though you felt like you were starving to death. Another day you woke up with zits all over your face and greasy hair. Then you started having emotional mood swings from hell that made you hate your beloved parents and siblings and also cry over the dumbest things. You may have developed a crush on someone new or stopped being friends with a long time friend, but relationships in general became difficult because you lost your ability to communicate your thoughts and feelings easily. No one understood you at all! You wanted to sleep all day and eat everything in the house and got mad when someone said you couldn’t. Life seemed hopeless one minute and exciting the next! Thankfully your friends were going through the same hormone journey with you and you consoled each other. You hated on the kids who seemed to not have any troubles, not realizing that they really did. You helped each other get through the really dark days.  What a wild roller-coaster ride it was and is.  All thanks to our good old changing hormones. Can’t wait to get control of my body again some day. But for now I will try to sit back and enjoy the ride.

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Only a few short years ago I could wear that dress! 

Me-No-Pause: Staying Young at Heart

I started worrying about menopause years ago because I have always suffered in various and often severe ways when my hormones go UP and DOWN. What does the future hold, I worried! Will I go crazy? Will I get a divorce? Will I get fat and lose all my hair? I had those thoughts because I’ve seen women do all of the above.  I know so many women who have become extremely intolerant of their husbands and gotten divorced, been put on anti-depressants after telling their doctors they had no energy and no motivation, gained a lot of weight even though they weren’t eating more and still exercising regularly, quit attending to their appearance because they quit caring what their husbands thought of them, stopped doing anything fun and just stay home ,and just generally changed in many negative ways. This all scared me !

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Knowing of the risks and causes of these life changes, I have been fighting hard to maintain those areas of my life. It’s not easy! I’ve had some very bad weeks and months where I was very focused on everything negative in my life, especially little things that my husband does that annoy me. As a Christian, I prayed hard and asked God to protect me and my marriage, and change my thoughts. It wasn’t instant, but I do see how God has been at work! I believe he used the race training as one means to keep us from going downhill, which I appreciate. As for the other stuff, it’s a daily battle to keep from gaining even more weight. I’ve gained about 10 pounds in the past year. That is a lot for a short person, but I’m still wearing the same clothes, although they feel tight . I recently caved and bought some bigger clothes. It was depressing, but necessary. My husband loves my rounder, softer body, so I guess that’s something. My mood swings and other bodily changes, have been rough to say the least. I don’t have hot flashes but I have long periods. It’s not fun.

But I know this is part of life and I am trying to maintain my sense of self while accepting the inevitable changes. I attempted the Keto diet but I just didn’t feel good . My sister has done great on that diet, lost a lot of weight, has tons of energy.  She is 7 years older than me and now weighs less than me. I was looking at some old photos of us hiking in Moab and she was chubby and I was skinny. The tables have turned! But she gives me hope that I can regain my body eventually. And my 77 year old mother is very petite, although I recall her going through a stage when she gained a few pounds when she had a hysterectomy. Now , my mom eats less than a bird, so that might be one reason she weighs 100 pounds. I know that all of this is vanity, worrying about my weight, but I worked hard to lose those 50 pounds in 2010 and I really don’t want them back! And I want to be healthy and strong enough to run and hike all day long, as well as take care of my family and whatever else needs doing.

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THAT is my awesome 61 year old sister in Moab! I admire her so much. 

 

So I guess I just want to encourage all you 40s to 50s women who are struggling like I am to stay young, vibrant,  and beautiful. I can’t say that I am really embracing this age, but I will say I am trying to accept what I have to and work at the rest. I just started taking a Maca supplement after reading that it is good for menopause. I’ll let you know how it goes. We need to support each other and share information about what helps with these issues. One thing I see happening that really bothers me is women encouraging other women to leave their husbands. I’m talking about women who say they ‘just aren’t happy’ , but their husbands are not abusive or cheating or anything like that.  I’d rather try to help her through her irritable times and get her to the other side of these changes, THEN let her make up her mind. Do not encourage selfish, short-sighted, impulsive behavior that may have serious consequences for them and their families.  I know at least one couple who divorced when she got a hysterectomy and had instant menopause, then they remarried a few years later. Save yourself the money and trouble by staying together! One thing I do is go hiking or running or go read a book if my husband is on my last nerve. Remember, you are probably annoying at times as well. Men tend to be pretty forgiving of (or oblivious to) our grouchy moods, so let’s cut them some slack when they won’t stop talking about sports or politics or whatever their annoying habit is. Last of all, I am trying to remember that selfishness never leads to joy. Joy comes from showing love and kindness, serving, helping, honoring, and giving ourselves to others. Protect your heart and soul from the worldly ideas that are constantly shared in social media, and please don’t LIKE or Share them. We older women are setting examples for the younger ones whether we like it or not. I’m thankful for my mother’s example.

God bless you in your journey! He will keep you safe as you trust Him

1 Corinthians 7:10-11 English Standard Version (ESV)

10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 English Standard Version (ESV)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

Are slow runs worthwhile?

Today’s run was on trails which means I run slower , but I ran extra slow today because of several factors. First , it was literally 100% humidity and 74 degrees which makes for extremely high dew point. Dew point is the number that kills. Not murder , but ruins your pace and makes running suck.

Second, I’m still trying to recover from last weekend’s race. With peri -menopause and adrenal fatigue , it’s taking me longer to bounce back from a hard race or training run. I find that I have to respect the process or I’ll regret it because I’ll crash even harder . Sleep is my friend! Eating enough protein is essential. Vitamin B12 and D3 really help, too.

Thirdly, I’m at a point in my cycle where my energy is dropping or I guess it fell off a cliff . I had a decent cycle this month and got a lot accomplished so I’m very thankful about that. But I knew it wouldn’t last forever and the day finally came. Bleh. Hello again sore boobs and sugar cravings!

My goal was 10 miles, but while I was running mile three I was already thinking about quitting early. I try to always run at least 4 miles just to make myself get past that urge to quit so I kept going but I was doubting myself. My pace for the first few miles was ok but it dropped as my clothes got more and soaked in sweat by 5 miles.

I asked myself if there was any benefit in running this slow and taking so many walk breaks. I decided that, for today , yes, I needed the time on my feet. I have a tough race in two weeks. I needed to know I could keep going when it gets tough.

My dog was running with me off leash , the trail is on my own land, and she nearly tripped me several times. Once she was playing with her tennis ball, not sure where she got the energy, throwing it around and jumping at it . She did that right on the trail and then jumped back bumping into me. Argh!! I’m way too tired for that! She almost took me out.

I ate a gel at mile 8.5 and put on some music instead of the depressing podcast I was listening to. This runner was sharing about her decision to get a divorce. That always makes me so sad. She’s at that dangerous age, wanting more out of life, blaming her discontent on her husband . Marriage is tough in your forties. Anyway I put on music and the sugar kicked in and my last mile was the same pace as my first mile. That happens often with my 10th mile. Second wind baby!

So I’m glad I pushed through and got it done. There are some instances where I would say you should skip a run or cut it short. If you’re injured and in sharp pain or really sick, the run is a waste at best and harmful at worst. I think most people need more recovery than they think, especially women and people with a lot of stress in their lives.

I’m hoping our plans to do a fast hike tomorrow work out and it doesn’t rain . What are you doing this weekend? Have a good one!

My “Good Week”

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From talking to other women I know that I am not alone in that I really only feel very good, very strong, very motivated, very ‘together’ about one week per month. Those of you who do not suffer from sensitivity to hormone changes and hormone imbalances should really be thankful and also compassionate to the rest of us. This was my good week. I ran a lot more miles, felt confident and able to think and formulate sentences, blogged a lot,  was more social, and took more risks.  I was also more positive, hopeful, tolerant, and forgiving of others. I joked around a lot! These are actually common behaviors in women when their estrogen levels are rising prior to ovulation. As I’ve mentioned before in this post, I learned a lot about what is normal from a very helpful app.

What did I do this week? I ran a lot and felt pretty good even though it was super hot, including a 10 miler and two hill runs. My pace was pretty close to normal compared to some really slow runs I’ve had lately.   I went to a baby shower, not my favorite thing because I’m socially anxious, and I had a good time. I stayed on top of my regular chores and responsibilities like cooking and paying bills. I made a decision that we were going to visit a new church and I made it happen, which is huge! I signed up for a race, which I hope I don’t regret. It’s next weekend so who knows how I’ll be feeling by then.  And actually I’d consider my good week to have started last weekend when I volunteered and paced at Habanero 100. Even though I was still having some physical symptoms, I was mentally getting to a better place. It just took my body a few days to catch up.

But now, I feel my mood and energy levels beginning to change. I’m getting irritable, less positive, less energetic, and my skin looks yucky.  While I felt thinner and weighed less on the scale early in the week, today I’m back to feeling bloated.  It’s such a bummer. I just want to feel good all the time! Oh well, I just wanted to post this so other women who suffer from having only one really good week per month will know they are not alone. Yes, you can make the other days somewhat better through diet changes , supplements, exercise, yoga, prayer, gratitude, making lists, planning ahead, but still , you just don’t feel as great . I guess this is one way God keeps me dependent on Him. I accept it as his child and I thank him for being there for me on ALL the days!

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~ Psalm 73:26