Saturday, May 18, 2013

What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid

I am reading "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg. It's the type of book that is inspiring and sickening at the same time. I am inspired because I see that I am not speaking out and acting on my goals. I am sickened because I identify with so many of the stories that she tells.

The first chapter asks, "What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?" Anyone who knows me might remark that I don't seem to be afraid of things. But I am. And I can think of several times where I have turned down opportunities that I shouldn't have out of fear of disrupting my marriage or work-life balance.

If I weren't afraid, I would:

1. Position myself to be an Editor of a well-resepected journal. Maybe this would start with getting on an Editorial Board.

2. Take up a bigger leadership roll in my professional organization. As of yet, I've only done small time bits. When I was given the opportunity to move up the food chain, I declined. Why did I do that??

3. Ask my husband to do more around the house. He thinks he does a lot, but he could do more. Even his own mother has remarked to me as much!

4. Go on a vacation with our without kids. I never take vacations because I always have some deadline. If this is the new norm, then I should probably just accept it and drink a pina colada on a beach.

5. Speak out for how poorly women are treated at my university. This includes students and faculty. I don't have tenure yet, so, yeah. This one will probably have to wait.

I can think of several other things, but they perhaps fall under the category of "If I had more time" rather than "If I weren't afraid." Time is whole other thing.

The Value of Exercise

My arm hurt so much I wanted to chop it off the way you might butcher a chicken. I cried at the thought of just existing with the endless pain. I was mad with myself because the pain I was experiencing was nothing compared to the disabling pain I had in 2010, and I wasn't handling this current episode very well. My rheumy wasn't much help, but there is no other rheumy in town (!) to consult.

My usual go to - a steroid dose pack -didn't work, so I was getting alarmed. I bought all kinds of vitamins and religiously took them. And, I started exercising again, and, finally, I felt relief.  The first few days of exercise, the pain actually got worse, but I stuck with it. I still have pain, but it isn't constant and it isn't excrutiating. It's Tylenol level.

My neighbor turned me onto TurboFire work outs. They are high intensity, but I just do what I can. They are super fun, and not too long. I'm very happy with it!

I find it so counterintuitive that exercise makes the pain go away. Arthritis Today magazine says it is so, but it is still amazing to me that I can do something so low tech to fell better.