Tagged: health

Hellooooo May!

I can’t believe it’s May already. We have forever been waiting for spring here in Stavanger and when it finally showed up a few days ago, May was just around the corner.

It’s been a couple of months since my last post on this website, and I’m sorry for dropping off the face of the Earth like that, leaving you guys hanging, without even a heads up. My apologies.

You see, a few weeks back my mum got ill. Nothing really serious, just a bit of a “bad” cold we thought. A couple of days into it, I woke up to a text from one of mum’s neighbors telling me that mum had been rolled into the hospital during the night.

Since mum has a habit of getting from bad to worse pretty quickly, due to her past history of pneumonia, combined with her not doing too good with medication, because of her autoimmune disorder (Sjøgrens), (we have had a couple of scares before) I wasn’t leaving much to chance this time… and booked a ticket to UK right away for the earliest plane we could get on.

After a nine hour trip B and I got to the hospital checking in on mum quickly before we called it a night. Over the next few days we visited twice a day, talked to the doctors, discussed medication and what we needed to do, to get mum back healthy.

Thankfully because of her quick admittance to the hospital and a few days with antibiotics through an IV (pretty much the only thing that works anymore) she was bouncing back and it was decided that she was well enough that she could go home 🙂

We stayed around for a while to take care of her, you know.. alt the little things of cooking, shopping, walking the dog, being mean making sure she took her meds 😉 and in general keeping her company, until she was back on her feet well enough she could fend for herself.

We are back home now, and I’m happy to say mum is getting better by the minute, as I got a text a couple of days ago that she was out and about doing a little shopping 🙂

I’m sorry I’ve got a couple of you guys worried about what was going on, but I haven’t felt much like writing…

But hey… I’m back now… so hopefully things should pick up a little 😉

 

 

The end of an era!

Today is a bit of a milestone for me.

Almost 33 years ago (well 32 years, 7 months to be exact), on June 29th 1983, I started my career at my company. Today, on January 31st, I’m leaving it all behind.

Some of you might remember last summer, that I had to throw in the towel at work because of health reasons, when I had to go back to 100% sick leave, and apply for disability pension.

I’m happy to report I’ve been granted the pension 🙂  Sadly that means I will have to say goodbye to my company and my colleagues.

I started as wee little girl right out of high school, and work has been an integral part of my life, as I’ve lived for it. I love my job, and I love hanging out with my colleagues, so it’s sad having to leave.

During my time there, I have done a lot of interesting things and I’ve met a lot of great people. It’s been challenging, fun, some tears, more hugs 🙂 ups and downs, calm days and crazy days, but most of all – there has been loads and loads of laughter 🙂 I’ve made lots of friends, some who have turned into “family”.

As great as the work itself has been, there is one thing I am absolutely sure of, and that is – that it’s my colleagues, former colleagues, “family” and friends, who will always be the reason why it was as a great place to be. And the people are the reason why it’s hard to leave. It has been a pleasure working with them all, for all the inspiration and wonderful memories they have given me.

I know that often – out of sight is out of mind – and I’m sure I’ll fall out of touch with some, but happily I have good friends there, that I know I will keep in my life for a long time to come 🙂

As I leave the company, all I can say is a big – Thank you!

Thank you, all my colleagues, who have enriched my life! I will keep you close.

And now… what will my future bring? I have no idea, but I’m sure I’ll manage to fill this next chapter somehow 😉

 

Things that matter….

I just got back after a few days in Oslo, the capital of Norway, hanging out with some friends who was visiting from US, and it’s time to get serious with my decluttering again. During this summer anyone that have been reading my blog, knows my items out-the-door have pretty much been non existent.

I’m not sure why I have this persistent thought that I need to declutter some more… my house is pretty much under control, I have gotten rid of tons of stuff the last few years, and in most peoples mind I never owned that much in the first place.

I think it’s part of this minimalist journey, wanting to shed more, I see it with a lot of the other “minimalists in making” that I follow as well, that as you declutter and get rid of things, it spills over in other aspects of your life.

As we declutter we become more aware of the things that matter, of what is important to us, either in the items we own, the people we are with, or the things we choose to spend time on. So we continue to declutter our; physical items, digital stuff, mental clutter, social interactions and work stuff, in hope that we will reach the right balance. The right balance between health, family, friends, work and you!

For most of us, it’s a work in progress, a continuous path we are on, one that might never end, as we slowly evolve into the people we want to be.

And this is why I think I still feel compelled to declutter, I’m not yet where I want to be, as I still have loads of “stuff” I want and need to sort through.

Sometimes it takes an event or a major issue to wake you up! An event or issue so big, that it compels you to change your ways.

Me getting sick a few years back, have surely been an eye opener! It has put a lot of things into perspective, and made me realise a few things. I also lost my dad to an illness about 2,5 years ago, which really brought home a few truths, about how I had some of my priorities wrong.

I know I never really write much about the inner changes, this blog has mostly been about decluttering the physical stuff. I guess it’s because the physical stuff is more tangible, it is something you can show the results of.

The inner stuff is harder to put down on paper, especially since the change often is so subtle, you hardly even notice that it happens, until your are way down the line. Then all of a sudden you realize that you have changed, changed the way you view a few things, changed what is important, changed some of your priorities…

It’s this change that made me realise that there are certain things in life that is no longer worth the cost of having it in my life. It’s this change that resulted in me finally deciding to throw in the towel with work and prioritize health. Without this inner change, I would still be at it, working away, ignoring my health, slowly working my way down in a ditch I might never have gotten out of, while at the same time do irreparable damage to myself.

It’s this inner change that might one day make us realise, that the things we used to live and breath for, no longer is the center of our universes.

We might suddenly realize that, “Hey, I don’t care all that much about this thing anymore, this thing that used to be the most important part of my life, this thing I prioritized over everything else, to very often, the exclusion of everything else… whoah!”

I don’t write about my inner changes much, because I don’t know what to say, I can’t quite formulate it all. The only thing I can say, is.. that the changes I experience on my minimalist path, makes me more centered, calmer, more aware of what’s important, less materialistic, more aware of where my energy goes and more in tune with whom I want to be.

It’s a slow process, and I’m on my way.. not quite there yet, but on my way!

And the strangest thing, that every time I shed some physical stuff, it seems to help me along my path to shed some mental stuff. It’s probably because I have to seriously think about if the item is important to me and why. It might also be because I’m getting into the harder stuff, the family stuff, the photos that bring back all sorts of memories, the stuff after my dad, the stuff that carries with them their own ghosts.. some of them my ghosts…

So this is why I declutter, so that I one day might get it all cleared out!

Throwing in the towel! A letter…

Dear Minimalist Sometimes and friends!

Yeah, I know… I know I’ve been completely out of touch lately. I bet you’ve been wondering if I dropped of the face of the earth, considering my spotty writing performance lately. Well, I’m still here 🙂

I’m really sorry I’ve been out of touch, but there is a reason.. I’m not saying it’s necessarily a “good” reason (even though I think so), but there is a reason nonetheless! Anyhow, there has been stuff going on that have occupied my mind a lot, and unfortunately there haven’t been much “energy” left over for the fun things like hanging out with the blogging community.

You see, a little while back, I had to make a decision, a decision that will affect the rest of my life!

Yeah I know, that sounds really dramatic, don’t it? I guess it’s not really that dramatic (in the big picture of things), but to me it’s been major!

Let me get you up to speed!

Remember I wrote last year about taking a couple of months hiatus from work, for health reasons? And how that two months turned into 6 months before I started back up at work January this year? I told about starting slow, first 10%, then 20% from about mid February, and how my plan was to continue to step it up to 30, 40, 50…

But….

Not so much, I’m afraid…  A few weeks back, my plan took a nosedive, straight into the ground.

Let me tell you a little non related story: When I was about 17 or 18, I was out biking, in shorts, since the weather was great. I was going down a long hill, picking up speed, not a care in the world, because I was having a great day. At the bottom of the hill there was a steep turn that I just flew through, not realising there was a bunch of gravel on the ground and that I really, really should have slowed down! Next thing I knew, I slammed into the ground and skid so hard that by the time my body stopped sliding, I had gravel in places I don’t want to mention 😉 And I think I remember not having much skin left on my left side either. Let me just say, I was not a pretty sight, by the time I finally managed to pick myself off the ground 😉

A few weeks back, I mentally slammed into the ground, just like I physically did on that bike, years back. It all happened, when we (my doctors and me), or rather I, realized that my health was not quite where we had hoped and wanted it to be.

“Realizing” this is one thing, making the decisions that naturally would follow such realization, is a whole other ball game, trust me!

It’s been 5 years since this “story” started. During these years, while I’ve been working (any % between full and nil you can imagine) I have done all sorts of “weird and wonderful” treatment, to try to get healthy enough to get back to 100% work. I really focused on treatments during my hiatus last year, in hope that a break and extensive treatments would work out.

I’ve been so focused on getting back to work,  that I have never really stopped to think about if getting back to work, really was the best thing for me, health wise.

Work is and have always been a really important part of my life (I live and breath for it). I love my job, and I love hanging out with my colleagues. And having to make a decision that will have such a permanent affect on my current life, and not to mention the rest of my life, has not been an easy thing to do.

But, I’ve decided to throw in the towel when it comes to work! So that I can focus/use what energy I DO have on getting my health as good as I possibly can, and maybe have a little extra left over for me.

It seems like (I have found, during my conversations these last weeks), that what I have finally figured out (yeah, I’m a bit slow on the uptake), my doctors, specialist and even my representative at NAV (Norwegian Labour and welfare administration) seem to have figured out a while back. But since I’m the ever optimist, and have had such a drive to get back to work, they have not pushed their conclusions, they have waited for me to figure it out on my own.

It’s been 3 weeks since my meeting with HR, my boss, the company health department and the union, where I told them, that my doctors and I had concluded, that I needed to go back to 100% sick leave, and that I would apply for disability pension.

Just like I’m quite shocked that this would be the result, I think they got a bit surprised as well, especially since I’ve been so optimistic that I would beat this illness and get back to work.

It’s taken me days to write this letter/post (not to mention weeks) as I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around that this would be the end result after 5 years of struggle.

I’m under no circumstances stopping treatments and focusing on getting healthy, it’s the work part of my life I’ve decided I’m leaving behind.

And it’s tough! I still get a bit teary-eyed, thinking about it. I’ve worked for my company for 32 years and it’s going to be hard to leave.

So, what now?

For now, while I’m waiting for the results of my application (which might take a few months). I will continue to focus on my health with treatments, workouts and rest.

And hopefully, if the weather holds, you’ll find me in the garden – we all know, how I love tinkering around out there 🙂 And knowing me, since I’m a bit of a restless soul, I’m sure a small “project” or two will pop out of the woodwork at some stage  – I get awfully “creative” when I have a little time on my hands 😉

And later?

I don’t yet have all the answers on that, but I’m sure I’ll figure some things out in the months to come.

So stay tuned and I’ll let you know, as I find it out 😉

With love, Anne Lene

 

Finally back at work… sort off!

As some of you know, about half a year ago I made a decision to take a two month hiatus from work, for health reasons.

My neurologist and me, had made a 5 month plan, where the focus was on treatments, rest, exercise and a slow reintroduction back at work. I’m not sure if you remember my “wonderful” plan:

5 month plan

From the headline of this post, you can probably gather, that things didn’t quite go according to my original plan. Turns out my two month hiatus turned into 6 month off work!

We can have the best intentions, but sometimes there is no rushing the body, it seems to take it’s own time, regardless of what we want! And that’s pretty much why this has taken much longer than I thought it would do.

So what’s been going on, these 6 months;

Medications:
I followed my original plan when it came to medication and that seemed to kick-start my body into getting a little better.

Workouts:
Have not gone according to plan, at all! For some reasons the treatment I started, aggravated an inflammation in my hip early July, and I’m still struggling with it (going in for an MRI on the 19th) so it kinda put a dent into my workout plan. I have done walks and stuff, but no gym 😦

Treatments:
I’ve done extensive treatments these last 6 months. As I’ve earlier mentioned, I started going to an osteopath. Turns out I ended up switching between two, since they did different things.. as one have specialized in cranial osteopathy.

To be frank with you, the progress has been excruciating slow, and my original osteopath actually had to throw in the towel. But I have continued to work with the one that does cranial manipulation, and he is still hanging in there 😉 and during the last few weeks, we are finally seeing some good progress.

A couple of months into my hiatus, my neurologist and me decided it was time to try medical Botox. It’s a know treatment for people that suffers with chronic migraines (you can read about it here), and we decided that maybe it would be worth a try for my 24/7 tension headache/migraines. It’s a treatment you take every three months and I was really lucky and got an appointment quick. My first round of medical Botox I got early September, and my second treatment I had just a month ago, in early December.

It seems like that second treatment is actually doing something for me! 🙂  As my osteopath treatments is having much better effect than ever before. My daily basis headache (the one that is present 24/7 – yes that’s, 24 hours a day, every day) has gotten better and better, to the point where this is the best it’s been since August 4th, 2010. And my migraine attacks seems to have reduced some as well the last couple of weeks. Woohoo!!!

So I might finally be on the mend 😉

And therefore, I think it’s time to get back to work (been kind of antsy to get back)!

My neurologist on the other hand, wants us to reap the benefits of me feeling better, a little longer before I get “hot and heavy” at work again, and she didn’t really want me back quite yet. So we compromised 🙂

Tomorrow I will start back at work, but only one half day a week! Yes I know, sound puny, but that was all she would allow me to do. And it gives me a chance to clear my mailbox, say hello to people, catch up a little with what’s going on, and get to know my new department (we were reorganized as of January 1st).

Then in 5 weeks time (February 16th), I will start work two half days a week, and do that until I have seen my neurologist again, end of March.

And hopefully by then I will have had even more progress with my osteopath, and maybe if I’m lucky, even had a day or two without a headache? My world, wouldn’t that be grand 🙂

So you can see, this is slow going. But guess that’s always the way isn’t it, there really is no rushing it. It’s probably taken a long time to get bad, and it needs a long time to get good.

In hindsight I do realise, I should have not pushed my body as much as I did. When I originally started feeling bad early 2010, I should have taken it easy right out of the bat, instead of what I did, which was to continue to work as hard as I could. If I had know then, what I know now… sheesh… I would have taken 6 months of right away… and maybe never have ended up in all the trouble of the last 4,7 years…

So if you are out there, struggling with health problems! Listen to what the body is trying to tell you! Slow down! Take care of yourself! Your health is the most important thing in your life… without it… well we all know how that goes!

And here I am, about to start work again, if ever so slowly! And this time around, I HAVE to be better at paying attention…

PS:
nite to self

It’s decided…

that today marks the start of my two months hiatus from work! 

You might have noticed that my posts have been far and far between the last month and a half… and there are reasons…!

What most of you don’t know is that I have some health problems that stop me from going to work full time. Mostly because my work entails a lot of time in front of computers, and if there is one thing I shouldn’t really be doing… it’s spending a lot of time in front of the computer! (Which really “sucks” when you want to spend time on your blog 😉 )

Let me backtrack just for a second to get you up to speed!

Early 2010 I was working on an really stressful project at work. Throw in a general problem with back/shoulder/neck, due to poor posture and a couple accidents over the years, loads of laptop work in meeting rooms with non-adjustable chairs, and you have a receipt for disaster. And before I knew it, I found myself with some tense and painful shoulders “up around my ears”, and even as slow as I can be when it comes to health, I decided I needed to do something about them.

In a roundabout way I found myself at a physical therapists office, August 4th the same year. And I have no idea what the heck she pushed, but she just about put me in the hospital, with the worse headache/migraine I had ever had in my life (and I suffer from migraines). I was pretty much a basket case, barely knowing my name, waking up the next morning, it was that bad! And unfortunately, since that day, August 4th, 2010 I have had 24/7 headaches.

Fast forward and I have tried all sorts of treatments, medications, shots and working part-time. It’s been slow going and today I’m way, and I mean waaaay better than where I started. But I’m still longing for the day when I’ll have a full day (or even a few hours) without a headache 😉

Lately, I’ve come to realise that I’m heading in the wrong direction again! Since around Christmas I’ve slowly been getting worse, with a substantial change the last couple of months. All I can do as soon as I get home from work is pretty much sleeping away the rest of the evening, and that’s no way to live!!!

So I’ve made a decision! To prioritise treatment and training over work the next few months.

My neurologist and I have decided that I have 5 “priorities”, which are (no specific order):

  • Treatment
  • Training/workout
  • Work
  • No medication
  • and some energy left over for me personally

As it is these days, I can only seem to partly do 3 out of 5 (and unfortunately, not even well).

So today I’m starting up with a new scheme (can’t give up you know 😉 ) I’m back on medication for a short while, I’m starting up with an osteopath, I will still continue to go to my naprapath, and I have arranged some training with my personal trainer at my sports centre.

My neurologist made me a 5 months plan for my priorities (I have done a quick redraw to put it into English):

5 month plan


So why am I telling you about this?

Well I’m not really sure, maybe it’s to explain why I have been doing so poorly with my blog lately. Why I’ve done nothing about clearing out stuff in June. Maybe it’s a part of moving forward and realizing that health and well-being should be a high priority in one’s life. And maybe I’m even telling you about this, as a gentle nudge to others out there, to not get themselves into this type of situation…

I’ve been struggling with the decision of prioritizing me over everything else, including work. I’m one of those (idiots) that have work as a number 1 priority in life, at the expense of a lot of things including me and my health.

Enough is enough, and on my minimalistic path, I’ve done some thinking about what things add value to my life, and what things are not worth keeping.

Now I’m not saying that work should go out the window (I do need that pay check), but I’ve come to realise – not at any cost, and definable not at the cost of my health. I shouldn’t need to be on medication and sleep my evenings away, just so that I can go to work as much as I do.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job a lot, and that is part of the problem, I like it so much I have not listened to my body’s signals to slow down, until it was too late. And here I am, 4 years later and still not back to 100%. And I can promise you, that nobody at work is ever going to thank us, for sacrificing life for work 😉

It’s time to find a better balance! And for all I know, my better balance might be only working 50% days. Or maybe taking this break is exactly what I need, to turn a corner and get back to healthy.

I don’t know the answer, but for now, I’m giving this a try.

And for all of you out there who are prioritizing everything else but health!

Do not, and I mean do NOT be an idiot (like me) ignoring your body when it’s trying to tell you something. I did, for too long, and see where it has gotten me! Absolutely nowhere!

Ignoring excessive stress/pain for too long can result in poor health, chronic pain, loss of life quality and not to mention that it also most likely will give you loads of medical bills and can even affect your income down the line.

So please, please – take care of yourselves!