Taking Care of Myself

I am tempted to articulate why I have been away from blogging for so, so long. I won’t waste your time with that excuse filled paragraph. It kind of doesn’t matter to be honest.

Obviously, filling the gaps in the story of my experiences as an education worker over past year or so would also be an exercise in oversharing.

I am prone to oversharing. Not for attention and not even completely for affirmation but simply because I am an open book. (Even as a little kid, I often used my “gift” of chattiness to share anything and everything I could about myself and my family.)

The past few weeks, though, I have not shared everything.

That’s ok and probably even healthier, in many ways, but I would like to share a bit more now.

The most important statement here is that I am ok and this story could be MUCH MUCH worse.

Earlier this fall, starting yet another “pandemic school year” (the 3rd one impacted by COVID-19 if you are keeping track), I was facing lots of change like so many others.

Amongst those was finally contacting my doctor about a lump under my right arm. I am not sure why I suddenly needed to investigate something that I had noticed months before but I did. (For dramatic effect, I should leave you wondering what happened until we get to end – but that is just mean! So, I will tell you now – that all test results showed that it was completely harmless.)

To make sure that I was being responsible to my role as teacher librarian at our school, I shared with our new admin team what was going on and they were kind, supportive and understanding. I do not typically take off 3 out 4 days over a two week window, but thanks to my fabulous family doctor all the necessary tests were booked quickly and close by.

During this process, my doctor ordered a standard blood panel since my last physical was 2018. What we discovered was that I have diabetes. There is a family history that made it so that this diagnosis was not a complete shock. I also suspect that since I was so relieved that all the other test results had come back negative, I didn’t feel any sadness or fear as my doctor and I discussed next steps.

For now, the plan is dietary changes and increased exercise plans. The bloodwork will be repeated in the new year and we will determine if more interventions to manage the diagnosis will be necessary.

Unlike my typical oversharing self, I only told my spouse and one very close friend what was going on. I am still not 100% sure why I made this choice. But I suspect I needed some time to feel like I had a plan and some level of control over the situation.

I did what I do best – RESEARCH –  and I found a book that felt trustworthy and accessible. I ordered it immediately and devoured its first chapter which explained the authors’ approach in extensive detail. The recipes and strategies felt right for me and I got to work.

It’s only been 5 weeks since this part of my health journey began. I recently shared the diagnosis with my children and the rest of my extended family. My body has responded with a noticeable physical transformation which indicates to me that it was most certainly in crisis. We won’t really know if this transformation will have a positive impact on my body’s ability to regulate sugar until the blood test and subsequent results in January.

Beyond the obvious changes (and the kindness of folx at work who notice gently asking if I am ok), I realize that taking care of myself really isn’t selfish. I have loved the phrase “self care isn’t selfish” for many years. But I never really believed it applied to me. I didn’t give myself the grace to step back, to say no, to pause, to fuel myself as needed.

I continue to see the things on my “to do” list that I don’t complete, the failures that I wish I could prevent, the needs of others I don’t meet. But I also know that I must stay on this health journey, that I am privileged to have access to caring medical professionals, food sources, community support and that taking care of myself is non-negotiable.

4 thoughts on “Taking Care of Myself

  1. Jenn,
    As a fellow “over-sharer”, it’s significant that you kept this particular piece of news to yourself. I am so glad you are taking care of your health. I am so glad your doctor ordered blood work. My husband is quite frustrated that he cannot have a physical yet, because he knows how vital they are to being on top of what’s happening in and with our bodies. You are so right that “taking care of [yourself] is non-negotiable”. Keep taking care, and let me know if you ever want to talk (or visit each other’s ACNH islands).

  2. Thank you, my friend, for taking the time to read, to respond and to reach out.

    My ACNH island needs some attention but a visit soon would be fabulous!


  3. I’m so glad you are taking time for yourself and you health. You know you best and obviously found the best way to take care of what you needed at this time. Sending love.

  4. I’m so glad that the other test results came back negative. Thank you for so openly sharing about what you are going through here. I’m happy to hear that you’re prioritizing you.


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