Posts Tagged ‘career


Goals? Grammar? Gulp…

Ahhh…  nothing like blogging at the crack of dawn on a Friday morning.  (Actually, is the sun even up yet?)  Why not?  I’ve been up since 4:45 am and have already cleaned dishes, made a grocery list and checked off about five other mundane household chores.  Coffee is brewed.  Body is showered and dressed.  I am ready to face the day with a fresh start – all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  Right?  I wish. 

I am up-and-at-’em this early in the morning because I woke up in excruciating pain.  While my two career confidants have been diligently plugging away at setting goals and learning how to blog, I have been focused on my health in 2009.  Just after my first ever blog post, I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which is a nervous system ailment that is a nightmare to treat.  Luckily, my doc was able to piece together the painful and UGLY symptoms before they progressed to a point of no return.  It’s a nasty disease and is really painful for those in later stages – just read the blogs. 

I’m fortunate.  The disease, so far, has been concentrated in my left foot.  Sometimes it shimmies up my left calf, but those days are few and far between.  My CRPS has been relatively easy from a pain perspective, but my woes are nothing to quickly dismiss.  CRPS is limiting most of the blood circulation to my foot and toes and is causing funky discoloration in those same areas.  I go from milky white to mottled raspberry to midnight purpleish blue.

Since then, I’ve been treating my illness from all possible angles.  I take six pills a day (which, by the way, caused blurred vision, brain fog and discoordinated muscle movements when I first began taking them.)  I bounce back and forth between two doctors – a pain specialist and a podiatrist – and see a physical therapist twice a week.  I go to the pool daily (those seven-year-old swim team kids eat my wake) and relentlessly exercise my foot. 

Two weeks ago, I had what’s called a lumbar sympathetic block.  Not familiar?  Imagine a couple of really long needles being stuck into the inner side of your spine.  Now, imagine having to go back again for more.  Give you the heebie jeebies?  Yeah – me, too. 

My time is precious now.  I am typically exhausted, so I’m sleeping more than ever before.  (That is probably a good thing, but my new 9 pm bedtime has been an annoying adjustment.)  I spend an average of 10 hours a week just treating this illness-o’-mine.  That doesn’t count the time I was laid up post-injection or my travel time, which adds up to a couple of hours give or take.  Oh yeah – on top of all this, I’m still working around 50 hours per week.   

Time management has always been a tricky topic for me to navigate.  Before my diagnosis, I was constantly on the go – overbooking both my professional and personal calendars.  I was ever-so-carefully trying to balance all the different parts of my life: my career, my education, my emotional growth, my creativity, my finances, my friends, my family and so on. 

Now, my schedule doesn’t allow for much of anything outside of my daily work and my healing process.  I don’t have time to spend with friends or to do the millions of other things I love.  My foot, which has been captive to a walking cast (a lovely knee-high gray and black boot with lots of velcro and plastic) since November, slows me down to a turtle’s pace – and makes me less productive and efficient.

I don’t know how to deal with my new self.  Physically, I’m pained.  Mentally, I’m frustrated.  Overall, I’m drained.


all things good begin with golf

I met Suzanne at a golf outing two years ago.  The tournament was hosted by a mutual business partner at Arrowhead, one of the most beautiful courses in Denver.  The course website entices, “Come play the course that was 300-million years in the making.  Featuring extreme elevation changes, abundant wildlife, rolling terrain, dramatic vistas, and thousands of feet of ancient red sandstone rocks towering majestically above you.”  I couldn’t resist.

Despite the appealing website description, I was nervous about playing.  I’m NOT a great golfer.  Granted, I can hold my own – on a good day with a handicap – but I am not a stellar player.  When I golf with strangers, I stiffen up; under pressure, I begin to crack.  The mere thought of swinging my sticks in front of a bunch of professional peers (none of whom I know and most of whom are men) makes my palms sweat. 

Despite my insecurities, I mustered up the courage to pack up my clubs and play in the tournament.  I rolled up to the clubhouse in my borrowed-from-my-ex Honda Civic just in time to check in and limber up a bit.  I was THRILLED to see that my foursome had another woman player – Suzanne. 

Throughout the round, Suzanne and I became quickly acquainted.  Early on, it was apparent that we were playing that day for very different reasons.  Suzanne was there to build professional relationships; I was there to play.  (I’ll take any opportunity I can get to swing my sticks free of charge and chalk it up as an honest day’s work.) 

Shortly after, Suzanne contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in getting together with her and her friend, Alli, to talk about our careers.  It would be a chance for the three of us to articulate our individual dreams and to establish clear goals to achieve them.  Alli, Suzanne said, shared our common desire to be esteemed and respected for our abilities, hard work and intelligence.

Great idea, I thought, but I wondered what I would ever contribute.  I had similar career aspirations, but I was too different from Alli and Suzanne to add any value.  I don’t have the drive, the dedication or the discipline to do this, I thought.  (Remember:  I agreed to golf in the tournament not to “network”, but to take advantage of a free round and to play hookie from work.)

Nevertheless, I agreed to join Suzanne and Alli for an initial meeting, hoping that their extraordinary personalities would rub off on me.  That was two years ago.

Jane Austen once said, “Everything nourishes what is strong already.”  Welcome to Sunday Brunch.

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