Anatomy of a sick day (and a really cute Stitch Fix Freestyle blouse)

The Teenager received her remaining Freestyle packages from Stitch Fix yesterday– one from the warehouse in Indiana and one from the warehouse scheduled to close in Utah.

So, before I launch into another blog post about the frustrations of learning the limits of my own body, I waited to share this photo of her in a super adorable top I found for her on the web site. I’ve probably folded and shipped at least 20 or 30 of these. Every time I’ve dealt with it I’ve struggled with its fluidity, wrap front and floppy sleeves. I’ve thought to myself: This must be a difficult shirt to wear.

When it arrived at my house, I thought, “oh it’s that shirt.”

And when the teenager put it on, I saw that she pulled it off beautifully. In my opinion, she looks way better than the model on the web site.

Now onto the cerebral palsy update…

It’s been two years since I started this journey to learn what cerebral palsy actually is, how my body works, and what I can expect as I age. I had no real medical treatment from age five to age 20, which means this is all very new to me. And fascinating.

And it’s been a month since Stitch Fix changed their metric measurement system in our warehouse and graciously implemented my workplace accommodations. Keep in mind that until five years ago I did not consider myself disabled and I worked really hard to do and appear as typically-abled as possible. When I started with Stitch Fix, I mentioned my disability in my interview and it is because of the culture at Stitch Fix that I had the resources and the space to explore my physical condition.

Stitch Fix is in the news right now for some changes, including closing the Utah “hizzy” and asking the CEO to step down. The founder has resumed the role of CEO for now. So, this post is about me and my journey, but I also wanted to point out that it wouldn’t be possible with the support of my colleagues at Stitch Fix.

Last week was rocky. I did a shift on the men’s side of the warehouse, then returned to my home department on the women’s side to find that the support on the women’s side hadn’t completely worked out the kinks. I just repeated to myself that we were all adjusting, and this was a big change that impacted more than just me, and I jotted down the inconsistencies I noticed and pointed them out verbally but not in writing to ask questions about how my accommodations would work and how they effect operations in our department.

Because one incident of an accommodation not being met is a coincidence, multiple is a trend. And none of my concerns became a trend. But I did experience a fall last week, which undid my most recent chiropractic adjustment. Stress may have played a role in that fall.

The great news is that yesterday went without a hitch and I even got a chance to talk to more of my peers, hopefully reducing any tension that may have been introduced by my accommodations changing how the department operates. My numbers have steadily remained where they should be, and on Friday I even hit 105%.

Bad news is… I felt so good yesterday and was working hard and hitting numbers… and I did not take my Baclofen. I don’t normally take it on weekends, and I honestly don’t recall if I took it yesterday morning. I know I did not take it with lunch like I normally do.

Then, being the person I am, I went to the gym and completed my regular weight training which, on Mondays, focuses on upper body.

I came home, showered, had dinner, and by the time I did some other household chores, I dropped into bed a little later than usual. I woke up slightly before midnight with my legs very tight and my shoulder throbbing. It took about two hours to go back to sleep. At four, when my alarm went off, I got up and fed the cats and visited the bathroom. I stretched and changed the toilet paper roll.

I felt much better, but did I feel good enough to go to work? My brain said, “sure.” My body replied, “well, a hard day’s work might stress your already achy body more. And that would perpetuate the cycle.” My brain added, “And you’ve had somewhere between four and five hours sleep. Is it really wise to go to work sleep-deprived? You’re a fall risk on a good day.”

I reset my alarm for five a.m. It never went off because I laid in bed the whole time pondering what to do.

I hate “calling out sick.”

And then, after looking at my PTO bank, my brain said, “this is why you have an intermittent leave. This is a disability-related absence.” But of course, being me, I had to debate whether or not to go in late. I didn’t know when I would wake up if I went back to sleep.

So, I emailed my supervisors and “called out.”

I got out of bed at seven feeling even better than I did at four, though my shoulder still hurt and my healed mallet finger was very stiff and uncomfortable. But now at least I had had seven hours sleep.

I realized when taking my morning medication that I had not taken my Baclofen regularly. This may have proven that it does make a difference, a difference I might not notice until it exits my system. And I also recognize that I very much need to be sure to use both my left and my right sides when I retrieve and empty the fixes that come to my station.

A lot of trial and error.

The Strongest Man in History

I spent today binge-watching The Strongest Man in History, a History Channel series where competitive strong men Robert Oberst, Eddie Hall, Brian Shaw and Nick Best try to replicate some of the most legendary strong man feats in history.

Left to right: Shaw, Hall, Best and Oberst

Now, at first I scoffed at the thought of professional strong men in a History Channel documentary series but I have to admit; they did at extraordinary job. The show was witty, had a great historical depth, and allowed the viewer to see a different side of these athletes— and for me, it offered a chance to see just how intelligent and athletic these men are.

It made me lament how far I’ve left myself go with my own fitness goals, and I could offer excuses but excuses remain excuses.

I’m sad that I finished everything series.

And I’m very impressed with Nick Best, who, at 50, keeps up with the younger men.

Turning the day upside down

Yesterday, Black Friday 2020, I did something I never do— I went to a store. Two actually, Marshalls and Home Depot. I promised the teen.

We were already out-and-about due to agreeing to pet-sit for our cat fostering godmother: two personal indoor cats, two outdoor cats, two dogs, ten of the organization’s cats in the garage (including one kitten recovering from distemper) and 17 foster cats in the “cat alley” in her house.

Somewhere around this time of opening cat food cans, after perusing Home Depot for drain covers and paint stripper and checking out Marshall’s for Christmas gifts, the teenager goading me into ordering Little Caesars for dinner. I ate way too much pizza, watched an episode of The History Channel’s The World’s Strongest Man (Viking Challenge episode) on Hulu.

I went to bed early, as I had volunteered to go to work for an overtime shift at 6 a.m. My superpower— innate time sense—allowed me to wake at 3:56 a.m. when my alarm was set to go off at 4:30. My goodness is that an early time in the morning.

Fog and Misty were the only cats awake at that hour. Fog and I went out to the sun porch to enjoy a cup of coffee and some cuddles.

Meanwhile, Misty sat in the window sadly, expecting me to open it. When I didn’t, it either didn’t occur to him to use the door or he couldn’t figure out how to get through it.

The teenager made me a cup of iced coffee and put it in the back of the fridge so I could bring it to work with me when I left the house at 5:30 a.m. That coffee is so strong I don’t think I will ever sleep again.

It was so strange to see the sunlight streaming in the windows at the warehouse. Everyone working today was working on women’s inbound processing. So that was fun. And I even managed to run the tagging gun through my fingertip and someone manage to adhere the tag to the garment and my flesh. But it was dead skin so it didn’t bleed.

And for some reason, I felt compelled to try and remove my finger without ripping the tag off. And I did.

The Wheel of Fitness

I know it’s common to witness women caught in a cycle of dieting/food deprivation. I know for a lot of women, weight melts away, plateaus, and returns. My experience with this yo-yo effect occurred due to various health challenges: cerebral palsy, anemia and anxiety, followed by an accident that broke my teeth, and two broken bones in the span of two years.

When I turned 39, I suddenly realized… my once relatively stable body had reached its lifetime heaviest and more than that, my stamina and strength had waned as well.

I vowed to myself I would get in shape before I turned 40.

Problem is, I had never tried to lose weight before. Turns out I was good at it. I started at 142 and dropped to 112 in about the span of a month.

I bought a fitbit to make sure I ate enough. I got my weight to 120. Then 125. Then 130. It didn’t stop there.  Today I’m at least 135.

But now, as I have my 43rd birthday approaching in 8 months, I have great upper body strength but I have gained so much of that weight back. I don’t have the stamina to go out and walk for four miles just as a fun jaunt. I’m afraid to ride my bicycle.

This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this. In college I started weight training. Then stopped.

My first job came with a gym membership, my muscles returned. And I stopped.

Then I had a baby.

My first big supervisor job, I went to the gym if the staff started stressing me out. Between that, and the fact that my daughter ate half of all my meals, I got in shape again.

And then I changed jobs.

Now I am back to being out of shape. Strong, sure, but not as strong as a year ago. But I am out of shape.

So I started logging food, exercise, water and sleep habits. Even vitamins. Because what I need are healthy habits and routine. Seeing it on paper helps. And I won’t diet. I need good food to make my body feel hearty and to fuel it for exercise.

To start: do something every day. No excuses. I’m starting small, because I’ve had houseguests, worked a lot of hours, it’s PMS week and my daughter is in marching band. I’m rededicating myself to my home weights, doing ab exercises hopefully every day, and shooting for yoga everyday.

Yoga?

I find that a great place to start. I need to stretch out those muscles and body parts and prep it for whatever to come. Find the parts of my body holding stress. And most importantly, it can be a part of my day where I connect light activity with calm and breathing. A great way to slow down and reward my body, not just push it.