Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day by day by day -- Say A Prayer for Me

That's how life feels. I wake up (thank goodness) and I do the same things over and over again. The routines are the same. Day in and day out. Very little changes although I wish there would be some major change. I simply don't know what that would be.

For instance. The past three days I've woken up about the same time, between 8:10 a.m. and 8:20 a.m. Twice I got up to answer the phone. But, even with that phone call, I was still on my way to getting up anyway. So, the caller didn't change much about my routine.

It's rare for me to set the alarm unless I have a doctor's appointment or a hospital visit. If so, I need to ensure that I am ready to either get to the location or I need to be ready for pick up. Those days, I may find myself getting up as early as 7 a.m. depending upon pick up time. I am not thrilled but, my body does do something interesting. I usually wake up about five to 10 minutes prior to the alarm, which I hate hearing. I actually jump out of bed before the alarm, in most cases, and since I'm already up -- I will begin my routine. There was a time when I would try to go back to sleep and wait until I heard that "blasted" alarm go off. Oh, I remember those days. I was working back then. Interesting?

Well, I get into the bathroom and begin my daily morning rituals. All the usual stuff, nothing out of the ordinary. If I have already planned my wardrobe for the day, I will quickly review what I selected and take what I need into the bathroom with me. If I haven't selected my clothes, I will go to the drawers and begin that "insane" process. Why insane? Because my wardrobe is so limited that I really have next to nothing to wear -- it's actually a good thing I no longer work. My entire wardrobe is "super casual." I have very little to wear. After losing so much weight, I still kept wearing clothes that were way too big. Then, I finally realized I needed something "smaller" and so I went shopping for a few things. With a limited budget that places clothing not only near the bottom of the list but on the "Is it really necessary or can I get away without it list?" ... Let's just say that I wear the same stuff over and over again. Each week it's basically the same outfits. I try to change it out a bit -- maybe a different top. Or maybe I'll wear a different pair of sneakers. Since I exercise most of the time, I don't have a need for a "frilly" wardrobe although it would be great to have "real workout" clothes. I had a few items but they are beginning to fall apart as well from "wear and tear." Fortunately, my friends at the Y don't really notice what I'm wearing -- we all look "sweaty" and "ready for a heavy duty workout" so the clothes are not really noticed. (Although I do take note of the members who are able to buy nice matching sets for Zumba or who can afford a nice pair of Capri's that fit right.) When I have a few extra dollars, I hit the markets -- Goodwill, Hope, or any of the thrift stores where for about $3 I can find a "new" pair of pants or a top for less.  Thank goodness for bargains!

Once I am dressed and I've taken my morning medications,  then it's time for breakfast. No matter what, I do eat breakfast everyday. I may not eat immediately, but I know the importance of this meal. It was "pounded" into me during diabetes education classes. Breakfast, we were told, was an essential meal and never to be forgotten. If possible, I create a menu that includes a protein, a carb, a fruit, dairy and a fat. That's how I was taught. So, maybe I will have an egg, slice of toast, a glass of skim milk, some margarine on my toast and either a piece of fruit or a small glass of juice. Or, I may reach for the oatmeal adding some fresh or dried fruits and nuts. I may also add Greek yogurt to that meal, bringing in a great source of protein.

I know how to eat healthy -- but then again, it's a matter of what I have in the pantry or refrigerator. Like clothing -- food is on a special list -- it's a "luxury" item. Please don't misunderstand what I mean here. I'm eating -- and I am by no means starving. What I do want to explain is that being on a "limited budget" has its challenges. Since the guidelines for food benefits seem to indicate that I "earn too much money" to receive any extra help, I need to be creative. Like with my clothing where I seek out bargains or thrifty options, I have found some help in this area as well. Thank goodness for local churches and area food pantries. While I never thought I would be standing in line for any of these places, I do have plenty of company each time I visit a location for help. There are many wonderful men and women out there who never thought they would need this extra help -- but here we are. All together at the local food bank, getting our weekly allotment. If lucky, maybe this week they will have eggs. Or perhaps extra fresh fruit or veggies?

My day in and day out routine is rather simple. I am a survivor. I do whatever I have to do to make things happen. If I need something -- eventually, I will get it. Medications. I get those. They are on my priority list. Vitamins and supplements. I try not to run out, but if I do, it's only for a short time. Food. Trust me, I eat -- breakfast, lunch and dinner, even a snack or two. While I may not always eat the foods I would prefer (since I have to work my menu and diet around what I can get or find) I am doing quite well. Per all my medical testing, apparently I am doing all the right things. While I may want to eat a very healthy diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, healthier proteins, etc., I may need to make modifications based on what I can get and what's in the pantry and refrigerator/freezer. But, I can assure you that when I can get my hands on the "best" I enjoy it. When I have to settle for "second best" I am also extremely grateful. Considering that there are individuals not eating everyday or starving because food is not available -- believe me, I am happy living day by day by day.

Surviving cancer has been a major life changing experience. I have learned to appreciate "little things" and I have come to realize that even "out of date" items are still okay. Bottom line for this survivor -- I don't "sweat the small stuff" any longer. Living day by day by day is A - OK with me. I can make a meal out of anything and I can make it healthy, too. I can make an outfit out of whatever I find in my closet or drawers. I can still walk with pride and hold my head up high. Why? Very simple. I am able to get up each and everyday. I don't take that for granted. I don't even take breathing or walking for granted. I am so forever grateful to the people who have helped me reach this "day..." "this point in my life"... that I can find the beauty and happiness in every moment that I am awake. I love my simple daily routine. If this is living -- I am truly blessed.

(By the way, if you're listening to my prayers, I would not be the least bit upset if you "blessed" me with a bit of financial well being. Even in "Fiddler on the Roof" he sang the song "If I Were a Rich Man." Personally, I don't think it would spoil any "plan" if I came into a few extra dollars and was able to help my family and friends. Whenever you can make this happen, I would be most appreciative. Meanwhile, I'll  keep doing what I'm doing. Thanks. Amen.)

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