Saturday 2 March 2013

Stress Busters

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Pressure seemed to be mounting this week as I had to meet so many deadlines such as child minding, appointments and doing practically all the household chores by myself because it was time for Harry's chemo again. It is the fourth of ten sessions and what with the effects of that and the Hydrocephalus of the brain, the two together seem to exaggerate the symptoms and I have felt really weary coping with this. The Hydrocephalus affects Harry's spacial awareness making him trip over easily. He also finds it hard to work problems out and to carry out finicky tasks accurately. Chemo also has similar affects although this is temporary. The Hydrocephalus symptoms are not.
If it wasn't for the chemo, he could have a drain put in his brain to relieve the pressure, but obviously nothing like this can be done whilst undergoing chemo, so we find ourselves in a chicken and egg situation.
When Harry was actually undergoing chemo this week, my sister in law rang him to say that Larry, his twin brother, had collapsed again and had been taken back to hospital. Harry came back via his hospital transport in quite a state and was not able to cope with all this worry and the effects of chemo. I was a bit irritated by this, to say the least.
I seem to have spent ages on the phone to Rhoda again and Larry collapsed again in hospital the day after. It has been put down to a virus, but I think there is more to this than meets the eye. So this has caused added stress to the family.

Today was a sunny day even if a bit chilly and I felt I needed to get out by myself. Millie had been collected by her dad after her Friday night sleepover and she'd had her bath and hair washed and I managed to get her hair into a new style that my friend Audrey had shown us how to do. I gave Harry his lunch and decided to leave the house not knowing where I was going to end up.
I walked to the park and noticed that the tree that I'd snapped last May, was still wearing its knitted graffiti though it had faded a bit. The park keeper must have accepted it as it had been left on the tree. I sat on a sunny bench and soaked up the mild rays of sunshine. My skin hasn't had very much of that  lately as I haven't always managed to get out when I've noticed any.
I do feel guilty when I feel like this and everything gets on top of me. Don't get me wrong, I like to be fairly busy and have the grandchildren, help with Brownies etc....... however, its the illnesses and sudden bad news and unexpected demands that cause the problem. I guess I do like some time on my own and find this helps counteract stress. I also read and knit.
I have read two books recently that I couldn't put down. One was Pandora's Box by Giselle Green and the other, No Child Of Mine by Susan Lewis.

When they are here, our granddaughters practice their knitting and are getting a bit neater...... though they keep handing me their needles to rescue a stitch that has dropped or to sort out why they have additional stitches because they picked up a loop by mistake. Sometimes they knit so tightly that they can't get their needle into the stitch and I have to knit a row to get it right. I do think it would be good if they became proficient knitters though. So few people seem to be able to knit these days. 
Sometimes we do cross stitch together and they have made some lovely bookmarks that they have given out to various people as presents, who I hope cherish them after all the hard work that they put into their project.
When I get a chance I find knitting for the local premature baby unit is a very relaxing thing to do and someone else benefits too. Walking has always been my biggest stress buster in the past and it is such a pity that I can't walk anywhere near as far as I used to do, nor leave the house for very long because of Harry's needs.
What do others do to relieve stress?


Celia said...

I'm keeping you and Harry in my prayers. Walking has always been my best stress buster. I have to take more shorter walks these days but it really does help. I think you are amazing.

Rosaria Williams said...

Hi Maggie. I don't know how you do all you do. What others do? First, they face the reality openly with the their children, letting them know that what expect you to do is too much right now.

I had to tell my daughter I could no longer dog-sit whenever she wanted me to. She was disappointed, thought hard about it, and eventually found a solution that did not include me all the time.

You need to care for YOURSELF in order to be of any help to anyone else, and to keep from getting sick yourself.

Hope you work this out.

Along These Lines ... said...

My mom went through chemo; Obviously hard for anyone who's doing it, but also for the caregivers, bless them.

Mimi said...

Maggie, sorry to read that things are difficult again. I think getting out, even for a short while, is really good. I find walking great too, especially in nature, and your park does look lovely. Maybe 2 shorter walks in the day would work for you?
Are you taking on too much with the grandchildren? I know it's lovely to see them, but minding children is hard work.
I hope things ease a little soon..

Beryl Ament said...

Rosaria is right. If you are going to be any help, you must first think of yourself.

Your granddaughters' knitting sounds like mine. My entire kindergarten at St. George's primary school was spent knitting under the tutelage of a Mrs. Wilson, the headmistress. Crooked scarves were her specialty. A few years ago I thought I would revive my skills to knit for my grandchildren. My daughter decided to learn and within three weeks she was better than I had ever been. I hope you find comfort in your knitting.

Jackie said...

Like you, I walk, Maggie.
I'm glad that you are getting out and doing this. It is relaxing to your mind and is good for you, too.
I remember the tree that you photographed. So good to see it again.
Lovely that your Granddaughters are learning to knit. Beautiful Grandmother you are to help them. They will learn to relax their time.
So sorry to read about Larry; I have been continuing to pray for him. I will continue to do that.
Seeing that Harry can't have relief with the hydrocephalus because of the chemo, my prayer is that God will continue to take care of him through these treatments...praying that the treatments will do what they are supposed to do and that dear Harry will feel relief soon from the treatments and from the hydrocephalus. You are a wonderful and loving caregiver. It is natural to feel the pent up worries. May God continue to give you the strength and the patience that He has so greatly blessed you with. You are a wonderful wife, Grandmother, Sister and Sister in law. I hug you and send you an extra hug today...for good measure.
Love you much!

Brian Miller said...

so cool on practicing knitting with the grands....i am rather fond of the knitted graffiti too so i hope they continue to leave it...we had a few days of sun this week...those rays felt rather good as if spring were the midst of everything that walk was probably very good for you....

Irene said...

Isn't it possible, through some kind of program, for you to get help in the household? It doesn't seem right that you should also be running that by yourself. You know how I feel about you taking care of your grand kids. I think too much is being asked of you. Take care of yourself, Maggie. xox

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Maggie I have only known you briefly through this blog but you and Harry are most definitely in my thoughts and prayers.


Hilary said...

I have to agree with Rosaria. If during particular times, you need to get out and look after your own spirit, you need to be able to take that time. I'm so sorry that Harry and his brother are struggling. There's no doubt that in order to look after him, you need to be able to attend to your own needs.

"decided to leave the house not knowing where I was going to end up"
Sometimes, those are the best walks.

I relieve my own stress by walking, taking photos and working on those photos. I need to be outside and notice nature. I think that's essential to all of us.

I wish I could give you a hug.

dianefaith said...

It's hard to stop ourselves from feeling guilty, but you have no reason to feel that you. You are doing far more than can be expected of one person.
I hope you can have many more minutes in the sunshine and that you can find ways to feel peaceful. Your burdens are heavy ones right now, and those shoulders deserve space to relax.

Cathy said...

Hello Maggie
My Mum often used to say 'Fresh air and Sunshine' along with Knitting for her were the best things in the world to relieve stress. Didn't often agree with her but on this one I do lol

Hilary has the right idea when she mentions 'those are the best walks'. Sometimes for me going down a road already travelled isn't as invigorating as an unknown one - has its problems at times but then no more than the present ones lol

Lets hope you get a bit more help - for the both of you but especially for you Maggie. You derve it!!
Take care

Cathy @ Still Waters

MARY G said...

Knit. Read. Walk. I hope things look up for you and your life sorts out a bit so that you can do these things.

I also sneak into a hot bath with scent and read a book until I am waterlogged and the water cools.

Sending hugs!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to read about all the trials you are dealing with. I agree with Rosaria, you do need to take care of yourself, take time be able to cope, to keep from getting ill yourself. Been there, done that...and I was ill for almost 2 years, due entirely to stress dealing with family issues, illness...not the same but still chronic stress that took it's toil on me physically.

You are in my thoughts, sending lots of hugs.

NEVER feel guilty to have time for yourself. You deserve it and you need it.

Akelamalu said...

You have a lot on your plate at the moment Maggie so taking a little time out for yourself is a good thing to do. A walk in the fresh air is a great stress buster and will do you good. x

FeltByRae said...

Ah Maggie, you have such a lot on your plate, my thoughts are with you and yours.... hugs xxxx

Wendy said...

This post brings back memories of my own caregiver days. It's not an easy road to travel. But we do it with love. I'm glad you got to sit in the sun for a while and just soak up those warm, wonderful healing rays. I do that too when I can.

And walking. Just putting one foot in front of the other and see where I end up. That's my best stress-buster.

Teaching your grands to knit takes so much patience - I've only just started with one of my grands and it's not for the faint of heart. So many mistakes, but when I think back, it was the same when my mother taught me.

I take my hat off to you Maggie. These are indeed difficult days and I am keeping you and Harry in my thoughts and prayers.
Oh - love the tree pic!

Secret Agent Woman said...

Oh boy - you really have a lot on your plate and I'm sorry. You shouldn't feel even a second's guilt for needing time on your own to re-group.

Shammickite said...

I taught both my sons to knit when they were little, but I don't suppose they could do it now. But I have 3 grandsons and a granddaughter .... not old enough yet, but I'll try to teach them when they get old enough.

Jeni said...

Sorry to hear of Harry's issues -the medical problems of his own as well as his twin brothers.
But, that you are able to get a tad of stress relief via the knitting -now that, I find very good news. I'm currently on a self-imposed hiatus from the embroidery work I normally have myself embroiled in and lately, I've been on a kick of knitting and/or crocheting! Both tend to relax me in a different way that does the embroidery. Plus, the fact that I have a cause I'm knitting for -items for my now 5-week-old great-granddaughter! So far, I've made her a knitted hooded sweater and a little pair of baby socks and I'm currently working on crocheting another baby blanket too. (I made one about 2 weeks ago -just a big multi-color granny square -but made my step-granddaughter -little Lola's mother -loved it even though the colors were pretty vivid and bright, not the normal pastel shades most folks use in baby blankets and such! The only drawback to the knitting and crocheting being taken up again is that I can't resist buying more yarns -none of which I really NEED because I have oodles of yarns, just not in the type called for to use in the patterns I want to make up for Lola! LOL Can't win syndrome there, I guess, isn't it?
Peace and keep teaching the girls those needle crafts!

Anonymous said...

I understand how you feel about putting Harry under more stress than he needs. You have beautiful grandchildren to carry through this and it sounds like you always make the most of their visits.

I used to knit with my nana but I wasn't very good at it. I'm all fingers and thumbs and dropped so many stitches!

CJ x

Rose said...

I can only imagine how stressful it all seems for you at times, Maggie, with all that you must cope with. I've always been so impressed with how you handle it all. I think you have some excellent stress relief techniques, including just spending time with the grandchildren. I find that time spent with mine usually involves a lot of laughter, which is one of the best stress busters of all.

Wish I could sit and knit with you, so you could help me correct all the mistakes I make:)

Suldog said...

I hope things have taken an uptick since this posting. I'm saying a prayer as soon as I post this.